The clearer we see that we are sons of the living God, the more we realize we need to live as servants.
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Verse 7 mentions taking the very nature of a servant, or a slave. Paul did this. You often see him introduce himself as a bond-servant of the LORD. He humbled himself before God and took on the form of a servant.
7"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "
In verse 10 it says our attitude should be that "we are unworthy servants." The word "unworthy" means to have no worth, to be useless, of no effect, empty and hollow. In Philippians 2:7 the word "nothing" means to be useless, good for nothing. This is important. In Luke 17 Jesus wasn't telling us that we should think we are unworthy or worthless. He was saying that he had taken the very nature of an unworthy, worthless, and useless servant and he was commanding us to follow him in taking on that nature.
Our flesh is really offended by this. The worldly way of reasoning has problems with this. But this is how Jesus submitted to the Father. This is often a struggle for us. We can tell ourselves that we are servants, but just let someone who has authority over us in this world treat us like a worthless, good for nothing servant and see what what kind of feelings rise up. We might do okay as a servant (at least in our own minds) as long as we feel appreciated, as long as someone kills a fatted calf for us. As long as someone celebrates our service. But a mature son has to learn to be a servant without getting a fatted calf. A mature son has to learn to become of no reputation, or to become useless, and take on the form of a useless servant.
Jesus knew that his Father was with him always. And he knew that everything under his Father's authority was under his authority as well. We need to let this knowledge grow and mature in us.
31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
1 Corinthians 3:21b-23
All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
All things are yours. Know that, settle it in your heart. Know that you will always be with your Father in heaven. Then let it all go. Take up your cross daily. Let go of the ring and robe and fatted calf.
Be a servant.