“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,Â did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of deathâ€”even death on a cross.”Philippians 2:1-8
Then he said to them all: â€œIf anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”Â Luke 9:23
The verse is Philippians snatches the rug out from under my natural “Me-ology.”Â Jesus was not like us Americans!Â He did not think equality was the highest value in life!Â For Him the highest good–the greatest joy was found in emptying Himself for the sake of others.Â He did not demand that it be all about Him–even though in reality it is!
As Paul describes the self giving attitude of Christ, he invites us to consider a value that he says leads to complete joy…having the same mind and the same love as Christ.
“I am personally convinced that this submission, this dying to self, this crucifying of pride is crucial to our joy.Â We think of denying self as somber, grim-faced business when it is in truth a prelude to dancing.
The reason our death [to self] increases the joy level all around is that it also increases the love level all around.
Only when we die to self can we fully love another.
Self is a devilish creature, demanding all of our energy, wanting our constant attention, reaching even into our pocketbooks for favors.
How can we ever hope to be attuned to another when self screams for our constant care?
When self is alive and well, it offers us an all-or-nothing proposition.
We either pacify self, or crucify it!”
Pathway to joy is the pathway that goes from “Me-ology” to “Thee-ology!”