TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Philippians 2:3-11

Do you experience a child-like sense of joy after you’ve filled up your car with fuel? Don’t deny it! Seeing that gauge pushed to its limit instills confidence in us all. With a full tank, traffic jams are no problem, the A/C is always on, the speed limit seems more like a “guideline” than a regulation, and there’s no thought of having to stop. Being at capacity creates a sense of invincibility, a blindness to anything that resembles emptiness. However, whenever that low fuel warning light comes on,
panic sets in. Traffic jams become a nightmarish race against the clock, A/C is not even an option, the speed limit is wishful thinking, and suddenly your eyes are fixated on the prices of every filling station within sight. You truly learn to appreciate every mile when the gauge says “empty.” In the same way, living life on “empty” raises one’s awareness, putting things in perspective.

Paul, writing this letter from prison, is on “empty.” Perhaps at this low place in life he could appreciate the emptiness of Jesus more than if he were, say, seeing the churches grow or profiting as a tent-maker. When life is good, there’s little thought given to low places. It’s not a bad thing to enjoy progress in life or rejoice in good times, for these are also Biblical principles. However, the essence of being a disciple means a willful emptiness, an emptiness like that of Christ Jesus.

Jesus lives on “empty” when He willingly becomes flesh, withstands harsh temptation, seeks out the marginalized, mentors stubborn fisherman, and endures the shame of crucifixion. Can you imagine leaving the side of the Father to live among those who would eventually reject and crucify you, and to live among them for no other reason than love? Can you imagine relinquishing a status of eternal fullness willingly? Jesus came to live on “empty” so that all who live on “empty” in this life might be made “full” in the life to come. A life on “empty” allows one to see the world as Christ saw the world.

Today I will…1. keep in mind Paul’s challenge to “have this mind;” 2. remember that Christ chose emptiness for me over a place of eternal fullness; and 3. empty myself for others so that I might be made full in Christ Jesus.