This jumped out at me today while reading Romans 15:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:5-6
Paul is encouraging the Roman church to move forward, to persevere, to endure and encourage one another. In fact, he says that, as they are doing this, they should have the same attitude of mind that Jesus had.
What was that attitude that Jesus had? It was the attitude of not living for himself, not living to please himself. Paul had just been speaking of how we should live in love for one another, which may mean living in sacrifice in order to show love for other people, whether they be believers or unbelievers.
In this way, just as Jesus did, it is not for us that we live, working to gain everything for ourselves and living in a way to please ourselves, but it is for the other person that we live.
Jesus did this, initially, just by existing as a human on earth. Think about it. The God of the universe, the God that created all things, is now humbling himself to come to earth as a human being. Is he living for his own good, to please himself and enjoy his time on the earth? I’m sure that there were many times of joy and happiness, but how humbling would it be to do what God had done through Jesus? He is the King of the Universe, the King of kings, and yet he places himself in this very low position as a human being.
We could continue to tell this same story throughout Jesus’s life in multiple ways, but if we skip foward, it is extremely clear that Jesus didn’t live for his own pleasure. He lived for his people.
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Yes, he was announcing and demonstrating his Kingdom. Yes, he would be taking his rightful place as King. But he would be doing it by paying the price for his people that would enter his Kingdom. Blood was required to pay for the sins of his people. No one would be able, however, to pay that price, so Jesus pays it on their behalf through the cross. Jesus takes the punishment for each of us, and in so doing, pays the price for each of us, allowing us to enter into his Kingdom.
An example to live by
So this gives us an incredible example of a servant who lives for the other person, for their good and their benefit, rather than our own. This is what Jesus did, and this is what Paul is calling us to do as well. To live sacrificially. To live for the other person so that they will know God through Jesus Christ.
And ultimately, there is one reason for this, and it speaks to the reason that we live. Paul says that the reason that we would live this way would be so that we may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We live so that our lives will glorify God.
It is important to understand the distinction that Paul is drawing here. Typically, as we live, our lives are all about us. Me. What I want. What pleases me. These are the things that we think about. These are the things that we pray about.
But this is the opposite of what Jesus lived for, and this is also the opposite of what Paul says that we should live for as well. Our lives are designed by God to live for others so that they will know him through Christ, and by doing this, we will glorify God.