Philippians: Taking Christ as Our Pattern (excerpt)

The Lord’s humiliation involves seven steps: (1) emptying Himself, (2) taking the form of a slave, (3) becoming in the likeness of men, (4) humbling Himself, (5) becoming obedient, (6) being obedient even unto death, and (7) being obedient unto the death of the cross.

The pattern presented in these verses is now the life within us. This life is what we call a crucified life. The seven steps of Christ’s humiliation are all aspects of the crucified life. Although Christ had the expression of deity, He laid aside this expression. However, He did not lay aside the reality of His deity. He laid aside the higher form, the form of God, and took on a much lower form, the form of a slave. In this, He emptied Himself. Surely this is a mark of a crucified life. Then, after becoming a man and being found in the appearance of a man, Christ humbled Himself even unto the death of the cross. This was the crucified life lived out in a full and absolute way.

Christ is not only an outward pattern for us; He is also the life within us. As this inner life, He would have us experience Him and thereby live a crucified life. In this crucified life there is no room for rivalry, vainglory, or self-exaltation. On the contrary, there is self-emptying and self-humbling. Whenever we experience Christ and live Christ, we automatically live such a crucified life. This means that when we live Christ, we live the One who is the pattern of a crucified life. Then we also shall empty ourselves and humble ourselves. If we did not have the crucified life within us, we could never live according to the pattern presented in Philippians 2.