Even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
We are to imitate Christ’s example of humility. Romans 15:3 says, “Christ did not please Himself.” Instead, Christ lived to please God. In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul wrote, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and . . . humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Had Jesus’ goals in life been that of most Christians–peace, prosperity, pleasure, avoiding pain–He would have remained in Heaven, and we would have remained in our sin. But because Jesus lived to please God and put our needs above His needs, He gave up His position in Heaven and came to die for our sins.
In Romans 15:3, Paul said, “As it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.’” This verse is a quotation from Psalm 69. This psalm was written by David, yet it foreshadowed what Jesus would experience 900 years later. In Psalm 69, notice what Christ was willing to endure on your behalf as an example of His humility.
First of all, Jesus endured pain from His enemies. Psalm 69:4 says, “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; those who would destroy me are powerful.” Do not be surprised if your Christian faith causes people to despise you, to plot to destroy you. If Jesus was persecuted for trying to please God, then why are we surprised when we suffer persecution?
Second, Jesus endured estrangement from his family. Psalm 69:8 says, “I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s sons.” Jesus’ siblings did not realize who He was, and it divided His family. Sometimes living for God will cause estrangement in your family, maybe with parents who don’t understand your faith or children who aren’t living for God.
Third, Jesus endured the agony of the cross. Psalm 69:20-21 says, “Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” This was a foreshadowing of Christ’s experience on the cross. As agonizing as the physical pain of the cross was, the most painful part was the spiritual agony Jesus experienced. He did it for one reason: He wanted to please God, and He wanted to meet your greatest need.
When you think of what Christ has done for you, is it really that hard to say no to that piece of meat or glass of wine? When we consider the example of Christ’s humility, it is easier to limit our liberty for the well-being of somebody for whom Christ died.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For “I” Problems” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.