The Secret to Obedience

September 1, 2021

He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8

Written by Andy Engberg from the Brentwood Campus

Prison, Slavery, Obedience?

For some of us who spent much of the last year in quarantine, life may have felt more like being in prison. Paul wrote this letter from prison. He was detained for the “crime” of obedience to Christ. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he explained that we are slaves to whatever we obey. What is the secret to obedience?

Philippians 2:8 is part of a Christological hymn in which Paul describes Christ’s voluntary self-emptying, or kenosis. He explains that Christ “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Everything leads to the proverbial crescendo of Christ on the cross, after which He was raised from the dead and exalted to His heavenly throne.


Having The Same Mind of Christ

Paul prefaces the hymn by saying, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” In the passage directly following the hymn, Paul adds, “Just as you have always obeyed Me, not only in My presence but much more now in My absence.” Paul is drawing a parallel between his own absence and Christ’s physical absence while calling the Philippians to continued obedience and humility. The hymn describes how Christ “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death.”

His humility and obedience to the Father characterized who Christ was. Adopting a posture of humility is an important step in sanctification. Waiting for God to humble us is a slippery slope. God will humble the proud, but if we are following Jesus’ example, we will humble ourselves before God.


Your Obedience is Visible

When we adopt a posture of humility towards God and others, people will see Jesus in us. This is what obedience to Jesus looks like. This is the secret of obedience to the Father! When people recognize this in you, it will be evident. People will seek you out to start asking questions about Jesus! Are you ready to have some gospel conversations?


Now What?

Take a moment to reflect on Christ’s perfect submission to the Father. Remember that He made a way for humility to take root in your life as you continue to follow Him. Pray for the strength to obey and for the joy that comes in faithfully submitting to His will.


Related Resources

The Humility of a Spiritual Leader