Richard Weirich

When Running On Empty is a Good Thing

When Running On Empty is a Good Thing

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8

In Jesus’ earthly ministry that led to the cross, He ran on empty. The theological term for this emptying of His deity to become a man is called kenosis. It was the ultimate demonstration of humility necessary for the sacrifice that produced our salvation.

In John 13, we read the account of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. He then instructed them to wash one another’s feet. “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (v15) Jesus point is that we should humble ourselves that we might serve others.

Jesus emptied Himself to become our servant. We are to empty ourselves to become servants to others. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5)

What does that mean? We can’t empty ourselves of our divine position. But we can and should empty ourselves of anything that keeps us from serving others.

Humbling ourselves for service is more than serving food at a homeless shelter or reaching out to the homeless. That kind of Christian service is absolutely necessary, but there are other areas in which we often refuse to give of ourselves.

Have you ever heard the expression, “You need to get off your high horse?” It is used to describe someone who thinks more highly of themselves than they should. That high horse can hinder our willingness and usefulness for Christian service that follows Jesus’ example.

Jesus’ emptied Himself for everyone without prejudice. He gives freely and without exception to all who call upon His name.

Can you think of anyone you would not minister to? Is there anyone you would refuse to  help if they needed it? Is there a name that pops into your mind while you’re praying, but you quickly dismiss the thought due to an unwillingness to pray for their well-being?

All of us have been mistreated by others. Sometimes we were hurt so badly that we harbor a grudge sufficient to wish ill-will on them. If you pray for your enemies as Christ commanded, God might bless them, and that’s not something you want to see happen. Besides, they’re going through a tough time and getting what they deserve.

But if we are to follow the example of Christ, we must empty ourselves of anything that prevents us from ministry. That means setting aside hurt feelings and biases.

I’ll say it again. Jesus emptied Himself for everyone. He wants us to have the same mindset toward one another.

Our Lord was driven by love (John 3:16) and willingness to forgive. As Christians, we’re to love as He loves (1 John 4:11), and forgive as He forgives. (Colossians 3:13)

Is there anything holding you back from helping or praying for someone? Then empty yourself. Jesus wants His servants running on empty.

For more on this topic, check out this article: The Key to Better Relationships

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.


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