As Christ’s disciples, we are to follow our Master. In Philippians 2:5-8, we learn that our Lord:
humbled Himself (v8)
submitted Himself to the Father (v6-7)
obeyed the Father (v8)
and sacrificed Himself (v8)
Humility, submission, obedience and sacrifice are important traits of a disciple of Christ.
Before one can be a disciple of Christ, one must first learn to be humble. Without humility, there will be no submission, obedience and sacrifice for the glory of God.
In Philippians 2:7, we learn that Christ made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. It is not easy for sinful creatures like us to count ourselves as nothing and be a servant. We want to be admired and acknowledged as somebody and we prefer to be served. That is why God has to break and mould us first before he could use us. “Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.”(Charles F. Stanley’s 30 Life Principles)
Submission follows humility. If we are humbled before God, we are likely to submit to His perfect will and purpose.
Our Lord says in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” He also taught His disciples to pray, among other things, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). Christ’s kingdom has come and as His disciples, we are called to be His ambassadors. Although people cannot see Christ visibly today, they can see Him through us if we are reflecting His nature and letting people know that we are His representatives. We should not be ashamed of Christ! He is not ashamed of us.
Submission and obedience go hand in hand. Obedience follows submission. Submission is an attitude and obedience is action. Our Lord says in John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” As Christ’s ambassadors, we are to share and live out the Gospel. And we do this with love – love for God and people. Without love, all our works are nothing in God’s eyes.
Submission and obedience do not come cheap. They come with sacrifice. Philippians 2:8 tells us that our Lord “became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” At the cross, our Lord suffered physical pain, mental and emotional anguish when His disciples forsook Him and people mocked Him, and most of all, spiritual anguish when God the Father forsook Him when He bore our sins at the cross. As Christ’s disciples, we are asked to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:23).
So, the next time we tell ourselves that it costs us too much for us to submit and obey God, we should remember that our Master paid a costly price to save us! I have faced ridicule, insults, rejection, ostracism, loss of opportunity for recognition, loss of income, etc. when I tried to submit and obey God. At times, the cross seemed unbearable but the Lord sustained me with His presence and promises from His Word.
Humility, submission, obedience and sacrifice are part and parcel of Christian discipleship. We need to remind ourselves of this daily. There are no shortcuts and easy way out. Our Master has set us an example and we are asked to follow in His steps. (Philippians 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:21). But He has promised that He will be with us always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20), and the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, will counsel and empower us to follow our Master. (John 14:15-18,26; Acts 1:8).
By Mr Lim Han Soon (YCKC Bulletin 23 November 2014)