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Philippians 2:7: But Emptied Himself

Philippians 2:7
[7] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (ESV)

We continue in this grand section of Scripture where the Apostle Paul is describing the character and nature of Christ in his taking on flesh. This verse says that he emptied himself. It is important for us to pause and consider exactly what that means. It does not mean that he gave up his deity. He was still fully God on the Earth. We know that he had power to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, and had power over the elements of nature.

What it does mean that Jesus emptied himself is that he laid down certain privileges that he experienced while being in the presence of the Father. Consider that he no longer had the sweet fellowship of the Father. He no longer had all the riches of Heaven. He submitted himself completely to the will of the Father, depending on the Holy Spirit. He lived a lowly life of relative poverty.

He also took the form of a servant. Interestingly, Paul said in the previous verse that he was in the form of God, yet now he is in the form of a servant. Just as he was truly and perfectly God, he is now truly and perfectly a servant. No one has ever demonstrated the selfless character of a true servant in the way that Jesus modeled for us.

He was born in the likeness of men. It is hard to imagine that the Creator of the universe had a toothache, a runny nose, acne, a headache, etc. The fact is, that Christ allowed himself to experience all of the weaknesses that all we as humans face. Why would he lay down his glory, take on the form of a servant, and be born as a human? There is only one answer. Love.

Remember, this passage talking about Christ's character started by saying, "Have this same mind that was in Christ." Be willing to be emptied of any glory, be a servant, and acknowledge your human weakness. Christ did. Have the same mind.


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