Few experiences reveal our own selfishness more than parenting. I found that to be true as the father of four children. To be perfectly frank, when our kids were little, there was a side of me that liked to have my shoes shined rather than stepped on and scuffed up. I preferred having my clothes hanging in the closet in an orderly manner rather than drooled on and wrinkled. And milk is best in a glass, on the table, not on the floor!
So what did the Lord do to assist me in realizing my selfishness?
Very simple: He gave me four wonderful, busy kids who stepped on shoes, wrinkled clothes, and spilled milk along with other things! You haven’t lived until you’ve walked barefoot across the floor in the middle of the night and stomped on a Lego landmine. I’ll tell you, you learn quickly about your own level of selfishness. But Jesus presents a different model. It was our Lord’s unselfishness that launched Him from the splendor of heaven to a humble manger in Bethlehem. Don’t miss the steps downward, according to Philippians 2:5–8:
1. He emptied Himself by taking on the form of a servant.
2. He was made in the likeness of humanity.
3. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient unto death.
4. He accepted the most painful and humiliating way to die—crucifixion.
Everything involved in Jesus’ becoming human began with an attitude of meekness, a willingness to cooperate with the plan for salvation. Rather than lobbying for His right to remain in heaven and continuing to enjoy the exalted position as the second member of the Godhead, He willingly said yes to being “God with us.” For the Word to become flesh and dwell among us meant His cooperating with a plan that would require His releasing majesty and accepting agony. In a state of absolute perfection and undiminished deity, He willingly came to earth. Leaving the angelic host who flooded His presence with adoration, Jesus accepted a role that would require Him to be misunderstood, abused, cursed, tortured, and ultimately crucified.
For me, becoming a parent meant giving up perfectly polished shoes. For Christ, leaving heaven meant the One who used the earth as His footstool stooped to wash dirty feet. I endured wrinkled clothes; He endured soldiers gambling for His cloak. I gave up milk in the glass; He welcomed the bitter cup poured out in worship. God’s ways are not our ways—the humility required for the Word to become flesh is unfathomable! Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail, th’ Incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, Our Immanuel. —Chuck Swindoll