Daily Devotion – April 3, 2020 – Pastor Erick Thompson

Philippians 2:5-7

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

The word “emptied” is a very important word for me. The idea of being poured out, or being emptied is central to my scholarly work. I value it so much because we are so incapable of emptying ourselves completely. It is contrary to human nature. We are concerned with survival, and so, the thought of giving up completely something that is “ours” makes no sense to us. It also explains why we get so indignant when someone or something takes something away from us. Possession is so important to our American lives.

Yet, in this passage we are being called to empty ourselves; “Let the same mind be in you…”. But, I want to think about it in a different way. Rather than using possessions, I want us to consider exactly what Paul is saying: what if we emptied our “minds”? What if we opened our minds so that we let our own selfish ambitions and desires fly out? What if we poured out of our minds the accomplishments that we claim make us worthy? What if instead we saw that it is God who is at work in us? What if emptying meant that we were ready to let God rule in our hearts?

The beauty of the Lutheran message is that the Holy Spirit creates this room in our hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit’s work is emptying our minds and hearts so that in faith we can see that God is indeed our king. We don’t have to accept Jesus, rather, Jesus just appears, riding in on a donkey into our lives. Jesus comes as a servant king; a king willing to lay down his life for you. A king who is emptied, who is poured out for you. As we approach Palm Sunday, and we begin celebrating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, I hope we can wave palm branches in our hearts and minds; palms of peace and understanding, palms of wisdom and might, palms of joy in the Lord.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be emptied of everything that clouds our vision and faith in you. Help us to see Jesus as our servant king who is willing to be poured out so that we might have the promise of eternal life and your presence with us always, Amen.