You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  (6)  Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  (7)  Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form,  (8)  He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross, Philippians 2:5-8.

Most of you who know me well know that I don’t believe Jesus was born on Christmas. That doesn’t make me a heretic or a radical. And, just so you know that I’m so totally fair and honest with the facts, let me hasten to say that no one, but no one, ‘cept God Himself, knows exactly when Jesus was born. Having said that, however, the preponderance of Biblical testimony points to Jesus’ birth in the fall, sometime in late September thru October. But definitely not anywhere near December 25. It isn’t a big deal to me and it’s not worth fighting over. But I just happen to believe that if we Christians are gonna stand for the truth and insist that our beliefs, actions, and lifestyle be in accordance with the truth; then we’d be a lot closer to the truth if we celebrated Christ’s birth in the fall.

Having said that, today is Christmas 2013 and I started thinking about what ran through Jesus’ mind when the Father came to Him one day in Heaven’s glory and said, Son, I’ve got a plan to save mankind. But in order to do that you’re gonna have to go down to Earth, become a human being, and eventually die a very painful and humiliating death on a Roman cross. It’s a lot to ask, I know. But think about it and get back with me, okay?

Jesus was God. And, being God, He knew the end from the beginning. He knew what His life on Earth would be like before He even took His first breath as a human being. Think of the incomparable grandeur of Heaven’s palace. Now think of a stable with smelly animals; the poo and filth that’s typical of a stable. Think about rags for a robe. Then think about having to obey a very imperfect mom and dad. The Father’s the only Person He’s ever obeyed and had to obey. Think about being made fun of, being ridiculed, rejected, and called a deceiver. People even called Him the devil! Think of being pushed around, slapped, whipped, tortured, and made a public spectacle as He was nailed to the cross. I can imagine the pain and humiliation He must have felt. But the thing that I can’t imagine is Him bearing our sins, taking the punishment for them, and suffering the abandonment of His Father while He hung on the cross. The Father had never done that before. I know what it’s like having God feel so distant, so silent, so absent, from my life. I’m sure you too know the feeling. And you know it’s just plain dreadful not having God anywhere near. I would dread that so much that, if God ever abandoned me, I’d rather die right there on the spot than live a second more without His presence and love.

Anyhow, I think about all this and I know that Jesus knew full well what He’d be getting into if He consented to the Father’s plan. But, wonders of all wonders, He agreed to it and became one of us. Why? Because that’s how much He loved us and wanted to save us. But, love aside, Jesus was so totally submitted and obedient to the Father that even if it meant being humiliated and killed at the hands of sinful men, He was gonna obey the Father no matter what. He was gonna obey even if it killed Him.

Each one of us is at a level or a point of obedience. There are some things that we would obey God in. And truthfully, there are some things that we just won’t do for God. There’s no way we would obey God. Some would rather die than obey God in a certain matter or area of life.

I look at Christ. He was so totally willing to obey.  Psalms 40:6-8 puts it this way: You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that You have made me listen, I finally understand—You don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.  (7)  Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures:  (8)  I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart.”

Back in the youthful days of my generation Andrae Crouch was the biggest name in Gospel music. One of the songs he sang was entitled Yes, Lord, yes. The lyrics go like this: I’ll say Yes, Lord, yes; To your will and to your way; I’ll say yes, Lord, yes; I will trust you and obey; When your Spirit speaks to me; With my whole heart I’ll agree; And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes.

How about you, dear friend? How far along are you in your obedience to God? Are you willing to obey God even if it kills you? Are you ready to live for God? Ready to live in obedience to God in everything He asks and requires of you? If your answer, like mine, is Yes, Lord, yes, can you prove it? Like Christ, when you make obeying and pleasing God your life’s desire and ambition, you’ll find that obedience really isn’t as hard as we’ve made it out to be. God gives grace to enable obedience. I pray that for the rest of this year and the coming year God will shower you with His grace and that you’ll experience His love, His presence, and His favor.

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