Sleep on This – April 2: Exalt Jesus
Good Evening Friend!
How is your soul this night? I pray that these bedtime chats will be helpful in realigning your thoughts and prayers before you enter into that great gift which is good sleep.
I’ve said repeatedly that Philippians 2 is holy ground. In the opening verses, Paul admonishes his readers to:
- live humbly;
- to care for the needs of others;
- to count others as more important than oneself.
And then, he lifts up the supreme example of his other-centered neighbor-love: Jesus, of course. He who did not “clutch” his heavenly rights but “emptied” himself and came to earth in the form of a human being.
That alone is a shocking assertion; a divinity deigning to become a human. But it gets even more astounding. Listen:
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him…
The path of humble obedience took Jesus all the way to a shameful death on the cross. It is a shocking end to a shocking act of condescension. Ah, but it does not end there, does it? “THEREFORE…!” What a gift that word it. “Cross” does not have the last word. God’s “THEREFORE” has the last word.
“THEREFORE” (that is, because of Jesus’ humble obedience) God has HIGHLY exalted Jesus. Do you recall that our new mission statement starts with those words? “Chapel Hill Church exists to exalt Jesus…” And notice, it’s not just “exalt.” It’s “HIGHLY exalt!” He who, in his love for us, made himself as low as the dirt…has now been lifted up above all things, all persons, all powers, all universes, all beings, all of creation.
Now, if God the Father has chosen to exalt Jesus, how much more ought we, those whom he has saved, redeemed, empowered and called to be his own—how much more ought WE exalt Jesus, especially in this momentous time?
At the end of the hard journey upon which we are presently embarked, what do we hope will have come of it? That we escaped the virus? That our IRA rebounded? That we still had a job. We hope for all those things. But oughtn’t our supreme hope be this: that in it all, through it all, the name of Jesus was highly exalted! Jesus once said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” Imagine if Corona, a scourge of the Devil, became the means by which more people are drawn to Jesus. That is a promise—and this is a crisis—not to be squandered with too-modest aspirations.
Lord, as I lay me down to sleep, I offer you this prayer and promise: May all that I do in this season exalt the name of Jesus. Restrain my instinct to lift up only my needs and fears. Grow in me the supreme desire to present to a frightened world the only real hope it has: the name of Jesus. May Jesus Christ be praised, in my gentle rest this night, in my dreams and in my tomorrow. Amen.