In the old days of the Middle East, many people believed that multiple deities existed. Every culture had their god or set of gods. Many even gave some form of divine status to their rulers, mostly because the ruler demanded it. In this world, divine status was something worth pursuing. It was something to fight for, attain, and enforce. This meant you having your will and then getting what you wanted.
This sounds so different from the incarnation. In Philippians 2, Jesus is portrayed as giving up all the perks of being God. He wanted to take on human form, a lesser form, so that He could rescue the human.
Jesus, the God who became man and became a servant and said I will give my life for them, came into a world that said I will destroy any one who does not give me what I need or want.
Almost 2,000 years later, not much is different about the world. We still have countries fighting wars for resources. Many people are stolen and put into slavery. People believe that other world-views are inherently evil. People still will kill each other for loose change. I think we should look to Jesus and his Spirit for guidance. Instead, we find it tempting to have control and to use it.
Deitrich Bonhoefer says this:
“Human Love desires the other person, his company, his answering love, but it does not serve him…But where it can no longer expect its desire to be fulfilled, there it stops short-namely, in the face of an enemy. There it turns into hatred, contempt, and calumny. Right here is the point where spiritual love begins.”
Even if there are technicals that you disagree with Bonhoeffer on, there is wisdom in this saying. We should live out the Incarnation of Jesus, but the only way to do that is to have the utmost love that was given to us by Christ. We will find that being a servant is the only way to show Christ and to be a Christian. It is the only way to have agape love.
So are we like the old rulers, who sought to fulfill their own love needs and control everyone into serving them, or are we like Christ, who gave up divine status as something worth chasing?
Are you seeking to be God’s replacement and be over everyone else? Or are you seeking to love (serve) God and others?