What do you have when you’re down to nothing? This is a question I’ve thought about over the past few years. You can be down to nothing in relationships, or in money, education, or in work. What is interesting is that we often refer to these things as if they are what make us something. If you run out of these things, then what do you have? Once again I ask, what do you have when you’re down to nothing?
I think this is a secret Jesus understood about life. Philippians 2:6-7 says Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing…”
The one person in the universe who is as big as it gets, “being in very nature God”, made himself nothing. Jesus path took him from having control over everything to making himself nothing. Yet, the one who made himself nothing has had greater impact than all the many people who have tried to make themselves something.
There is a great power to becoming nothing.
Paul says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5. In other words, we don’t have to spend our lives trying to act like we’re something. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with relationships, money, education, and work. In fact, they are great things. However, they won’t make you something, and as long as you’re trying to find yourself in those things, you wind up empty.
I’m really amazed that Jesus would make himself nothing. It isn’t logical to me that God would choose to become a human, and humble himself even to dying on a cross for our sins. I love this lyric by Hillsong United, “Faith makes a fool of what makes sense, but grace found my heart where logic ends.”
Here is something I believe to be true. Jesus was able to make himself nothing because he knew who he was. It wasn’t that Jesus was nobody, or just anybody. He understood he was somebody who was here for a purpose, a greater purpose than any other human has ever known. Because Jesus knew he was somebody loved by God, even that he was the Son of God, Jesus was able to make himself nothing. What’s the secret?
When you know the God of the universe loves you and is with you every step of the way, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You can let God love you. You can walk away from defining yourself by the relationships, money, education, or job that you have. You don’t have to try to become something to impress anybody. Instead, you can rest in being who God made you to be. You can enjoy the great power of making yourself nothing.
A lot of people chase after becoming something, but all the things they chased after slip through their fingers. They thought they would have everything, but now they’re down to nothing. The chase to become something never ends. That’s why I like the choice Jesus made. He didn’t randomly end up down to nothing. It was a choice as to how he would define himself, and how he would go through life. When you make yourself nothing, you realize all you have is all you need. What is it that you have when you make yourself nothing? You have the one thing God gave you that no one can take from you, but you can give to everyone. Love.