This series has been a delightful look at the character necessary to build biblical perspectives. (See Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 to catch up.) In order to learn how to see the world the way God wants us to, we must first start at the cross. To start anywhere else would leave us with an erroneous foundation and untrustworthy perspectives. The reason we look at our character when starting at the cross because the cross is the ultimate display of God’s character. If our hearts are not in line with God’s heart then neither will our perspectives be.
In the cross, we see that God is not prideful; that He is willing to lay down His own rights as God; that He looks out for the interests of others and that all God does He does for His glory. Moving through our passage in Philippians 2 we come to the concluding verses which wrap up our series:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
– Philippians 2:9-11
The Him, God exalted here is, of course, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the God-Man, was highly exalted by God and God graciously conferred on Him the name above all names so that at His name every knee will bow, and every tongue confess He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. What we see here is a cause and effect relationship. The verse tells us: Because Jesus did this (humbled Himself)… God did this (exalted Him) to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus lived His life from the perspective God wanted Him too. For us to do this we need to build biblical perspectives. This is why Romans 12:2 calls us to renew our mind so that we can be transformed. Jesus didn’t need to worry about building biblical perspectives because He was “the Word [made] flesh” (cf. John 1:14). Yet, even though He was the Word made flesh He was still tested in all the same ways we are (cf. Heb 4:15) but still lived His life from a perspective shaped by the attitude of God.
His outlook on life was shaped by an attitude of selflessness, humility, and willingness to relinquish His own divine entitlements. Now we get to the final goal of any biblical perspective. The attitude which shaped His outlook, and therefore His actions, came out with one final and grand product – the glory of God being put on display for all creation. Here is one of the greatest tests of whether or not our perspectives are biblical: Do the actions which our perspectives create glorify God? And it’s not the idea of “bringing” glory to God as if it’s something He doesn’t already have. It’s the idea of putting all that is already so awesome about Him on display for others to see.
Do you want to know if your perspectives are being shaped by genuine biblical attitudes of selflessness, humility, and relinquishment? Then you must ask yourself, “Will my outlook on this result in actions that put God’s awesomeness on display?” If the answer to this question is not yes then it is impossible for our perspectives to be those which are shaped by God’s word. No biblical perspective on life will ever result in actions that are dishonoring to the glory of our great God.
This passage even gives us some really helpful insight on how we can put all of God’s awesomeness on display for others to see. Often times, where we fail in glorifying God, is that we try too hard to glorify God. Remember the cause and effect relationship we looked at above? Jesus chose to humble himself (cause) which resulted in God being glorified (effect). Jesus’ focus was entirely selfless and therefore the Father chose to exalt Him which resulted in God being glorified. Simply put, the practical application for us here is this: Christ-like selflessness will result in God being glorified through your actions.
And I believe the key lies in our focus. Focus on living a truly selfless life through the principles we have looked at in this passage and let God take care of the rest. Seek to approach the world with a humble heart. Learn how to prayerfully relinquish entitlements God may be wanting you to let go of. Aim to put others before yourself. Pray and ask God to help you develop an attitude where you honestly see others as more important than you. Then sit back and watch God do His thing. You will see your life take on new meaning as you begin to live from a selfless heart that causes you to take actions that result in the display of God’s glory.
Copyright © Lawrence Joseph Sterling 2016. All rights reserved.