Paul challenges us to think the way Christ thinks, or to have the same attitude Christ had. Philippians 2:6 begins Paul’s description of Christ’s attitude. The first thing about Christ he wanted us to know was that Jesus, 17 game changer“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” Jesus did not use his deity, His position in the Godhead, to His own advantage. He willingly set aside the majestic glory of being the eternal, divine Son of God, and took upon himself the lowly likeness of a human. The picture of Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples still captures the humility of Christ in spite of his exalted reality. While James and John want honor at the right and left hand of Christ, Jesus is setting aside His rightful glory and taking the form of a servant.

I like the way Robert Raines speaks of James and John in his poem. We can truly see ourselves easily in these words, but they mean even more when we contrast them with the “attitude” of Jesus towards glory and personal gain at the expense of others. Raines writes, “I am like James and John Lord, I size up other people in terms of what they can do for me; how they can further my program, feed my ego, satisfy my needs, give me strategic advantage. I exploit people, ostensibly for your sake, but really for my own sake. Lord, I turn to you to get the inside track and obtain special favors, your direction for my schemes, your power for my projects, your sanction for my ambitions, your blank checks for whatever I want. I am like James and John.”

I’m sorry to say that I’m much more like James and John than I am like Jesus. “But the upward call of God” is to become more and more like Jesus and less and less like James and John. I am and James and John are children of Adam. Adam used his role as man created in the image of God to “snatch” equality with God by eating of the Fruit. Adam lost his “lordship” over the world by attempting to become more than God intended. He wanted to be equal with God while Jesus on the other hand who was truly equal to God surrendered that glory and refused to use it to His advantage upon becoming man but humbled Himself to the consequences of Adam’s sin; death! Thus as Bruce puts it, “Christ achieved universal lordship through his renunciation.” Richison says, “In eternity past Jesus had a thought pattern to disengage from the voluntary use of the glory of his deity to become a man. If Jesus valued the sacrifice of humility for the sake of others as a value which transcended his own interests, should not we do the same?”