Monday, June 18, 2007

KENOSIS LIVING
Part 1 of 3

TRUMPS THE WORLD'S BEST AND WORST. I am convinced that Jesus of Nazareth initiated a way of living that is a winning path through contemporary and often dehumanizing complexities. It is a specific principle with requisite perspectives and actions that trump the world’s best and worst. Taken as a lifelong orientation, this way of living cultivates humanitarian excellence and culminates in greatness for others.

ANCIENT-FUTURE CHALLENGE. This way introduced by Jesus is kenosis living. Kenosis means, in Koine Greek, “self-emptying.” It is not new, of course; it is an ancient, tried and true principle. It is most exquisitely described in the Bible in Philippians 2:6-11. But kenosis living freshly applicable and in need of examination, exploration, and embracing today. Without it, the greatest challenges of this generation may well go unmet.

TWO CHOICES. Kenosis living begins with a personal choice to be deployed and to serve. There are two basic attitudes toward life: to be served or to serve. If you choose to be served, you will never change; you may accumulate many things but you will not essentially grow as a person. It is only people who choose to move from being served to serving, from being a consumer to being a steward, from expecting entitlements to creating their own futures who are really ever transformed. The trajectory of transformation begins with a choice to be deployed and to serve.

NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE. Even as they jockeyed for privilege and position in his kingdom, Jesus cautioned his disciples against such fruitless clamoring. Instead, he implored them to emulate him: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This is the most basic and essential change in attitude and outlook you will ever undertake. It is the decision that changes the tide for your future—and all those whose lives you will come to redemptively impact.

TIDAL CHANGE REQUIRED. Let nothing keep you from making this basic decision. The barriers may be extremely high. The challenge of changing expectations and attitudes that have built up over a lifetime of demanding or desiring to “be served” is great. I am convinced they will not be overcome without prayer and God’s grace in your life. But without this clear, definite choice to be deployed and to serve, you will never essentially change or grow or fulfill the purposes for which I believe God uniquely created you and placed you in the world at this particular time.

Part 2 of 3 tomorrow

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