The one great thought of the Holy Spirit in Philippians is to make known the Lord Jesus as the Servant (Phl 2:7; e.g. Mat 12:18; 20:28); and this He does, that He may produce in us truehearted service (Jhn 13:14). There is not a thought of our Father’s love but what we get in “the face of the Lord Jesus” (2Co 4:6). He wants to endear His beloved Son to us, and so He associates us with Him in service down here, as He has associated us with Him in glory above. There is something much deeper meant by being a servant than the office of pastor, deacon or the like. It is not the law, nor the appointed office that can make servants; but fellowship with the Lord Jesus who calls to service, and this puts us in the path and gives us enablement.
If my Father has not given me enough to place me in His presence, then He cannot do more. He has not another Son to give. He cannot disparage the work of His Beloved Son. What a difference it makes to a Christian when passing through trials in service, if he has the Lord Jesus for his Object—when, in the midst of difficulties, he sees Him as his standing and his strength, the ground from which he acts! If I am put in a place of service for my Father, it is to the Lord Jesus I have to look, and in Him I have to trust and not man at all. If I am God’s servant, it is not for the glory of the flesh; the flesh I am to judge: if I do not, I shall be sure to get humbled by it, for it will lead me to disgrace the Lord Jesus.
What we have most prominently brought out in Philippians is the experience of the Christian servant, and what it is that qualifies and gives the heart of every true believer courage for service. It is not Christian affection, love, or humility, those these must be; and it is not that which encourages. What keeps us, as well as that which sets us in the path, is what we have and what we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must have mercy, kindness and compassion; but that does not give us enablement. That which enables is what we see in the Lord Jesus and receive from looking at Him (2Co 3:18; Heb 12:2).
The world (unbelievers, which has always consisted of the majority of mankind – Mat 7:13, 140—NC) and the flesh (sin nature; old man—NC) would makes us forget we are in the Lord Jesus. The devil ever aims to keep us off the consciousness of our ground of standing. If I am thinking of my home as God’s Word speaks of it, and of the Lord Jesus as the Spirit makes Him known, I am attracted by His love and sheltered by His power. I am raised up above the world’s vanity by the glory I see in Him, and kept out of temptation by the beauty of the place He has brought me to. I cannot be higher than the Father has positioned me in the ascended Lord Jesus—bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh (Eph 5:30)—bound up with Him in life and service, made to sit together in Him in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6).
I have my place at the Father’s right hand, and I am down here to do His will—to be His son and servant. Nothing fits me for serving, or enables me to walk in obedience, like the apprehension of my association with the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing gives me power to abstain from evil as the realization of my union with the exalted One in heaven. I do not the least doubt the Cross is the foundation of every blessing; but it is the ascended Lord Jesus I belong to—the One who has died and is now in glory.
The Father will, at all times, provide for His own people. In the millennium, it will be blessing come down from heaven to earth; Christ over the people, and Satan not there (Rev 20:2). But what keeps us now, is the power of God in grace who has united me to the loving Lord Jesus above by His Spirit. What is the effect of seeing Him? “We are changed in to the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18).
—J N Darby (1800-1882)