In Philippians 2 it says, “[Christ] humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).

I read this on Sunday, and the phrase “obedient to death” jumped off the page.

Yes, this is what God calls us all to.  You and I may not have to die a physical death to glorify God, but He calls us to many other kinds of death.

We are to die to our own plans for our lives and yield to His plans for our lives, beginning with our initial submission to Jesus as our Lord and our Savior, and continuing into every nook and cranny of our beings.

The longer you walk with Jesus, the more you realize He really wants all of you.  He is not satisfied with your confession of faith.  Even Satan believes Jesus is the one true God and the only Savior of men.  No, God wants our faith to be fleshed out.  Our faith is not static; He continues to stretch us via circumstances to grow our faith bigger and deeper.

“Come deeper with Me,” He says, “I want to increase your faith in Me.  I want you to trust Me in all things because I am worthy of your trust, but even more so because I want you to experience the delight of ever increasing faith in and intimacy with Me.  That is what your heart desires.  And it is what I desire to give to you.  Come deeper with Me.”

But this closeness with the Lord can only be accomplished through death.  You and I must learn how to die to ourselves and choose Jesus in every way.

Death.  Dying.  It’s a painful process.  Just visit someone in his last week of hospice care.  Hear the rattling of his lungs filling with fluid as he struggles for air.  Watch him wince when the morphine wears off.  Hear him moan as he comes in and out of consciousness.

Spiritual death is painful too.  Just watch a believer who sincerely wants more of God wrestle with her fear as God teaches her to relinquish control.  Watch her on the emotional roller coaster as she learns to stop rebelling and start cooperating with the Lord.  Hear her struggle as she tries to use human logic to understand just how, exactly, God’s ways are better than her own.

And then get ready.  Brace yourself.  Philippians 2:9 is coming.

Because Jesus was obedient to death, “Therefore, God exalted him…” (Philippians 2:9).

Like Jesus, it is our job to be obedient to the Father – obedient even to death, and it is the Father’s job to exalt us in light of our obedience.

Most of the time my fear of obeying the hard instructions God gives me is rooted in the lie that I must exalt myself.  If I don’t look out for me, who will?  It is my job to make sure I am happy and I accomplish all I want to in this life.

That is a LIE!

God does the exalting!  In this life and the next, God takes care of exalting us at the right times in the right ways.  And He is worthy to be trusted with our happiness and satisfaction.  He has proven exactly how deep His love for us is on the cross.

So let’s accept His invitation to humble ourselves and become obedient to death.  The fullness of our faith depends on it.