advent week 3 – made himself nothing

Today we are looking at a passage from Philippians, chapter 2, verses 1-11. 

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

Have you ever noticed how rude verse seven is? “Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  

It’s like, “Woah, Paul! We’re in the room.” Everyone reading this letter is human. Paul (the writer of this book in the Bible) is just flat-out calling us nothing! That stings a bit. #paulburn 

While I’m 100% sure that’s proof-texting, it is my favorite part of these verses. Every Christmas, I remember how epic this story is and while I rarely think about these verses at Christmas, the phrase “human likeness” catches my attention. 

Essentially in these verses, we get a quick little synopsis of Jesus’ story from the first four books of the New Testament, often called the Gospels. 

Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord, 

In verse 6, we learn Jesus is the very nature of God. We understand Jesus is OK with the arrangement and has no plans of attempting a coup. We realize Jesus humbled himself by becoming one of us, and we learn it was all God’s plan in order “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord,”

This entire cosmic plan starts with Jesus encasing himself in dirt and being born in a cave by a teenage girl. 

We should pause here. This alone is insane. Jesus intentionally steps into our world and into our mess to give us a way back to God. Jesus had the power to snap his fingers and plunge us into oblivion, but he didn’t. God lovingly separated the Trinity so Jesus could be on earth with us. Every year we hear, “don’t forget to put God first amid all the work and distraction, blah blah blah.” However, this year I simply want to invite you to remember to be amazed. 

The King of the Universe loves you. 

You’re worth far more than any accomplishment you could ever achieve.

A king left a throne for you. 

You can have a relationship with God. 

And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross.” 

A king died for you. 

God is chasing after you. 

There is excellent advice in these verses. The reminder to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” is solid and at least brown-belt-level Christianity. But I hope you can simply stop, breathe, imagine how epic of a story this is, and allow yourself to get overwhelmed by the love of God. I realize that I’m about to undo the critique above, but amid all the work and distraction, blah blah blah, don’t forget to be in awe. Don’t lose the wonder and don’t let this story’s power die on the altar of familiarity. 

May we be people who exemplify God’s love. May we reflect God’s love towards us into the rest of the world. May we know how deep and wide God’s love for us is.

Jesus Christ is Lord.


Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

Jeff Boriss

Jeff Boriss

Jeff is an experienced and multi-disciplined Art Director dedicated to using the best of God's art and people to illuminate God's story. Realizing that the best results come from healthy and collaborative teams, systems and processes that support creativity, and teams of people that are led well, Jeff has dedicated his life to the complexities and joys of effective leadership in and through the arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Community

Subscribe and never miss a thing

MAY 2-3, 2023
2 DAY EVENT

LIVE STREAM & IN-PERSON TICKETS AVAILABLE