December 25, 2007
A God of Contrasts & Non-Conformity
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 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. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:4-11 (NKJV)
As I continue to meditate on the celebration of the birth of our King I tend to think of the incredible contrasts we see between God and the world.
This isn't anything new. It was around back when God selected Abraham to produce His people of promise. A despised people, according to Ezekiel 16:5, to the line of the King of Creation.
While the world sought to conquer through the might of a vast army God chose to display His might through the weakness of people to overcome vast armies. (Judges 7:1-8)
His chosen people constantly rejected His rule and would eventually demand to be ruled by a king as were the people who surrounded them. (1 Samuel 8:6-8)
Is it any wonder that when the time came to accomplish the prophecy of the King of kings that God would once again spurn the world's ideal by bringing forth from the womb of a virgin the Son of God?
The Son of God made flesh brought forth not in a lavish palace ornately decorated, but rather in the manger of an inn which didn't have any room for His parents.
His birth was indeed announced with fanfare but not to the nobility of the land. Instead it was made known to lowly shepherds who stunk of the animals they cared for.
Instead of being raised as a prince He was brought up as the son of a carpenter.
When it came time for him to begin selecting close followers God again broke the mold of the world's conformity by choosing ordinary and unschooled men. (Acts 4:13)
He taught that to be first you must be last, to lead you must serve, and to live you must die.
In death, He suffered and bled as a common criminal yet He was without sin.
Instead of a royal tomb He was laid in a borrowed one… borrowed because even in dying He shattered the normal by raising Himself from the dead three days later.
Even in celebrating His birth we rejoice because of His death because it was His death that redeemed a fallen people and brought the promise of eternal life to all who will believe in Him.
How about you?
Have you truly celebrated His birth by recognizing that His death paid the price for your sin?
Intersecting Faith & Life: Take some time this week reflect on what areas in your life you have allowed to be conformed to the world's standards and expectations. Then seek how you can be a living sacrifice for Jesus this holiday season.