“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.
On our journey to discover the pathway to godly promotion, the words, “this reason,” beacon us to discern the reason mentioned for Christ’s promotion to the Name above all. Finding the answer and discovering the pathway to our own promotion requires we go backward in the passage from here. Doing so, first we look at the example of Christ that is the reason for His promotion.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” ~ 2:5-8.
Jesus had it all. He was in the Eternal, the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, with full authority as God. He chose to leave the Eternal, coming into the limits of a flesh being so-as-to set the example and live the life that led to sacrifice for the eternal hope of all humankind. That journey led Him back to the eternal for all time, imparting to Him as Christ, the Son of God and man, the Name above every name as King of kings and Lord of lords. Simultaneous with Jesus’ promotion, God imparted to us the Way to Truth and Life Eternal in Christ.
Jesus began where He wanted to be, came willingly to where we are, then returned to the throne that was His all along, making a path for us to follow. Christ’s example points us to two things necessary for godly promotion:
- The emptying of self.
- The humbling of self to the point of obedience.
Jesus left His high position, emptying Himself of all He had and was, to come on our behalf as Christ, Savior and King. He calls we who are in this Beloved union through Christ to the same. “Emptying self” is the call of Christ found in Luke 9:23:
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” ~ NASB.
We must do as Jesus did, denying self-interest in order to take up the cross of self-denial as exemplified in Christ. The Amplified version of this verse tells us that to deny oneself means to disown oneself by losing sight of self-interest and concern, laying down one’s own interests, to refuse and give up self-centered purposes. Denying oneself takes up God’s purpose, plan, will, and way as one’s own.
Then the Amplified Bible explains that we take up our cross as we follow Jesus, cleaving steadfastly to Him, conforming wholly to His example “in living and, if need be, in dying also.” To empty self is the mindset expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The Persona of Pre-Jesus, described in our Philippians passage as One existing in the form of God, willingly chose to relinquish who He was and all He had in order to walk in human flesh as the promised Messiah—fully man, while rightly God. We follow His example by emptying self of our flesh man to take up His likeness in Spirit and in Truth. Emptying oneself lays down the person we think we are and desire to be in order to discover the person He destined us to be. It lays down our individual, selfish want and any claim on one’s own life in order to take up Jesus, give Him full reign, and allow Him to complete His work on earth through us. In so doing, we become the body of Christ. This is the humbling of self before Him to the point of obedience at any cost.
God “WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” ~ Romans 2:6-8.
Godly promotion requires dying to self-interest, humbling self to obey God, trusting Him to be God, lifting us up and taking us to higher ground in His way and on His timetable. He knows what our promotion in life looks like and what it will take on our part for us to get there. Note that Jesus received a type of promotion through a degree of renown in the earth that led to thousands following to see what he would do next. However, even the closest of His followers scattered and denied Him when He was taken into custody and only a little over 100 followers of Christ remained in that upper room after He bore His cross. The true promotion of Christ came to Him as He took His seat at the right hand of the Father in the Eternal.
We too readily work for a promotion we can see here and now, failing to focus on the treasure of Heaven. If our promotion is not what we expect, bringing hardship and challenge to us as it did to Jesus, Paul, and others of Bible times, we too readily fall away and quit working for the things of God. The heart of Jesus often hurt over those who turned away, but He did not view His success from a worldview. He saw with eternal eyes and trusted the will and way of God. God’s idea of promotion and prosperity is not worldly, but eternal.
Jesus set the example to show us the way to godly promotion through emptying of self and living humbly as servant of God, trusting all to Him. Next post we look at what God expects of us who would receive promotion.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~ Matthew 6:19-21 (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
“If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, AMP.