CompassBeth and I are having a particularly blessed Christmas season. I find myself – like so many others – wanting to hang on; and I will, at least through the end of the year. Thankfully, the reason for this season stays with us for eternity.

But still, 2017 is coming up the driveway; and will be soon knocking at our door. I am already thinking about next week’s meetings and writing deadlines. There is no stopping the movement of time.

So, how do we move on from Christmas? How do we hold onto the reason for the season, as we move into the promise of New Year adventures?

Being a child that likes to ask questions, I asked those questions of our Father in heaven. Being a Father that likes to talk to His children, He answered. Being a brother who likes to pass on the Father’s encouragement, I am sharing with you, the beginnings of that answer.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Finding the mind of Jesus, in His “coming in the likeness of men”, is the beginning point for our transition into the New Year. As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us (John 20:21). The parallels here are astounding.

“Let this mind be in you” – Jesus said that He only did what the Father was doing; and He only said what the Father was saying. He had the mind of His Father. It is encouraging to know that this was a state of relationship that He had to grow into. Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52) and learned obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). We, too, are in the Father’s maturation process. Our responsibility is to let it happen.

“Being in the form of God” – We were created in the image of God; to be the bearers of His glory through the life of His Son (John 17:22-23). We are to let our light shine (Matthew 5:16). Notice the word is “let”, and not “make”. This is critically important.

“Did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” – Jesus did not consider equality with His Father as a thing to be grasped (NASB). He stepped down from His throne. Likewise, we are to repent from our rebellion – giving over the reign of our lives.

“Made Himself of no reputation” – The Greek word translated as “of no reputation” means more than “what people think of me”. It means to be empty of force. Jesus determined to be totally and absolutely dependent on His Father for every bit of authority and power. It was the Father who did the work (John 14:8-10); and we can do nothing without Jesus (John 15:5).

“Taking the form of a bondservant” – Bondservants volunteer for service; knowing that such a life is better than any they could build for themselves. Jesus was sent by the Father; and He volunteered to go as the Father’s servant. We also are to be volunteer bondservants of Jesus Christ. As volunteers, we should refrain from complaining about anything the Master commands of us.

“He humbled Himself” – The full definition of humble is important here. It includes: to assign a lower rank or place to; to abase; to be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded; to humble or abase myself by humble living; to bring down one’s pride; to have a modest opinion of one’s self; to behave in an unassuming manner; to be devoid of all haughtiness. Humility is first a matter of the mind – the mind we are to receive.

“Obedient to the point of death” – Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13). As followers of Jesus Christ, we must be prepared and willing to die for our brothers and sisters.

“Even the death on the cross” – To be His disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. Notice that this is not a singular event. Jesus’ journey to Calvary began in a manger. As our example, He bore His cross daily. We must recognize this as an unequivocal and absolute condition of our discipleship.

As you meditate on these truths, guard against “I must try harder” thinking. Don’t turn these into New Year’s resolutions. Let the mind of Jesus be in you; the mind that trusts the Father to work in you – to will and do to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Furthermore, know that God has put the desire in your heart for each of these commitments. Ask Him to stir up those desires. In them, you will find a heart-tie with the Father; and encouragement for the next step.

Humbly yours and forever His,