Jesus is perfect theology. If you or I want to know what or how God would do something all we have to do is look no farther than the example Jesus gave us. But—that example of honor is more than simple actions.
Imitation begins in the heart not with the hands. Most of us have been taught to do—to act right—without understanding the why. We learn the rules—“do this”—“don’t do that”—and because we mimic the right action we fall into the trap of thinking we are righteous. Imitation goes far deeper than just actions, and if we hope to imitate Christ we must understand His attitude of honor.
The right attitude must come before the right action, or the action is empty. If the right attitude is there the right actions will follow. Right actions without the proper attitude turn into burdensome activities that eventually result in the cessation of the action. That is human nature.
Therefore, we cannot imitate Jesus’ actions of honor until we internalize Jesus’ attitudes concerning honor. Once our actions get insinc with His, our actions will have real purpose and power. Thus the ability to give honor starts here within our hearts.
Paul shares these attitudes of honor in his letter to the Philippians. He was dealing with a feud—a dishonoring relationship between two ladies—that threatened to derail the whole congregation. His solution—honor one another with the same attitude that Jesus had, which he clearly lays out in Philippians 2:1-9.
Jesus had a surrendered attitude. Surrender destroys the striving that is associated with selfish ambition. If you are unwilling to surrender there’s little use in reading this, for it will do you no good.
He possessed a unified attitude. Jesus was not an independent cowboy-style operator. No—His attitude was one of interdependence. He listened and did only what the Spirit showed Him the Father was doing. His attitude was unified through interdependence rather than fractured by independence.
Christ modeled a humble attitude, which was intently and intentionally focused on others. His concern was for people. His agenda was not to build an earthly kingdom although He was a king. There was no arrogant conceit—no demands to be given pre-eminence—no cries for recognition. His selflessness (a great definition for humility) eclipsed human selfishness.
Jesus exemplified a submissive attitude. He bowed to God’s plan of redemption, which meant He must die. He did not strive for power, position, or prestige, and as a result, the Father gave Him all three. Willing submission brings perfect obedience, and obedience is the perfect demonstration of love.
These four attitudes allowed the Lord to have a confident attitude. He knew exactly who He was (identity) and what His mission (purpose) required. He was not afraid of losing anything. He was not confused about what He might become. His significance was not threatened by what anyone else thought. He knew who He was and He knew He could trust the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Attitude really does determine our altitude. If we hope to soar with Christ we must first learn to honor others in our heart and then with our hands. Bad attitudes hidden within the heart are like buckets of lead shackled to our feet. We will never get off the ground in this area of honor until we jettison their drag from our heart