The Secret of Awakening Is the Crux of Attachment

Philippians 2:5–11 (NIV)

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

CONSIDER THIS

If you know me and have been walking with this community for any length of time, you know that I read the Bible in a way anchored in deep orthodoxy and yet also with what some have called a surprising dimension of intriguing nuance. I have learned from the Word and the Spirit a set of rubrics, lenses, and frameworks through which I see and approach the Scriptures. I teach those in a short course we developed called How to Read the Bible Better. If the interest is there I’ll be teaching it again in January. Let me know here if you are interested. 

I say all that to point out one of the big frameworks through which I read the Bible is what I call the V-device. You military veterans among us will recognize the term from the lexicon of military medals and awards. The V-device is a small metal V which is affixed to another medal or decoration. It signifies “with valor” indicating heroism or valor in combat. And while we are here, I would like to speak a word of personal gratitude and respect to all the military veterans among us as it is Veterans Day today in these United States of America. 

So what does this have to do with reading the Bible? 

The V-device comes from Philippians 2:5–11, our Scripture reading for today.1 Take a pen or pencil and position it at the top left hand side of a page. Then trace the left side of the V downward to the bottom of the page as we read verses 6, 7, and 8. 

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Next, draw a cross at the bottom of the V. Now, trace the right side of the V back up and to the top right hand side of the page as we read verses 9, 10, and 11. 

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That is the V-Device as I see it. One of the chief reasons we read the Bible is to gain, over time, by the power of the Spirit, the very mind of Jesus Christ—to think like he thinks, to see what he sees, to hear what he hears, to feel what he feels, to imagine what he imagines. To have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus, is the very way of the cross, a way of humble courage and profound valor. 

So why do I bring this up here? Because I see this path we have been alliterating, (awareness-attention-attunement-attachment-affection-abiding-abandonment) spread out across the V-device. Draw it out on the page you are now drawing. Awareness is at the top left at the beginning of the V as the entry point of the great descent. Attention begins the way down. Attunement leads us the rest of the way down into the great valley of vision. At the very bottom, at the foot of the cross, we come to the place of graced attachment. The miracle of attachment happens at the cross—with God, with ourselves (i.e. our inmost being), and with others.

Then comes the ascent launched by the joyful lift of shared affection. We come further up into the rarefied air of abiding in Jesus until we reach the very top again only this time on the other side. Here we abandon ourselves to join Jesus on his mission as sent ones into the wilderness of the world; where through our awakened lives, Jesus gains the awareness of others who are searching for him unknowing. And awareness becomes attention and attention becomes attunement and on the journey of awakening goes.  

This is what the fruit of the Spirit looks like—a movement of holy love—of a people attached in a community banded in the deep bonds of the body of Christ flourishing in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Do you see how the secret of awakening is the crux of attachment?

Wake up, sleeper! No matter how far down the descent may go into the valley, the cross goes deeper, and Jesus greets us there with open arms; with the embrace of deep attachment. 

THE PRAYER

Father God, thank you for Jesus and this beautiful way of the cross of love; of agape. Thank you for attaching yourself to us through becoming a human person and for remaining as such. Holy Spirit, lead us into this deep bonded attachment to Jesus. Show us how the way down is the way up and that no matter how deep the valley the attachment with you goes deeper still. Grace us to share this kind of bonded love with others. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.

THE QUESTION

Do you find the V-device helpful in understanding the journey of awakening? Are you seeing how the secret of awakening is the crux of attachment? 

Our hymn today is “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” #154 in our new Seedbed Hymnal: Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. 

J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily and please share this link with friends.

NOTES FOR FURTHER REFLECTION

  1.  This is another anchor text I would commend to you all for lifelong rumination and rememberization. It is one of those texts whose underpinnings reach all the way back to Genesis 3 and stretch all the way forward to the day of Pentecost. As the text exhorts us to have the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus and then it rehearses the full sweep and scope of said mind. It is as plain spoken as it is profound. As you slow load this into your long term memory (aka rememberization) you will begin to see the V-device all over the Scriptures and also in your own life. 

Share today's Wake-Up Call!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I don’t mean to be disagreeable, but this passage is about Jesus laying down His life, not about His self-attachment to His life. At the bottom of the “V” He hung on the cross, suffered, died, and as the Apostles Creed says, “descended into Hell.” I don’t understand how this description of Jesus giving it all in acts of self-sacrificing love has anything to do with attachment to self. For me, when I’m personally at the bottom of the “V” I find freedom from self-consciousness. My focus is drawn to God. Instead of attaching to myself, my will, and my desires, I let them go and cry out to God for mercy, healing, and deliverance and thus find ever-growing attachment to the risen Jesus.

  2. Steve– so where are you seeing this notion of Jesus attaching to himself at the Cross in today’s reading? He actually abandoned himself in love to God at the Cross. I think we are missing each other here. My point is to say it is at the Cross where we become attached to God– where we lay aside the “old self” and take up the “new self” being remade in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

    1. Jesus died to save us, but also as an example to us. He didn’t attach to Himself at the Cross — just the opposite. He laid down His life. This phrase, however, seems to say that we get attached to ourselves at the “V” the Cross: “The miracle of attachment happens at the cross—with God, with ourselves (i.e. our inmost being), and with others.”

      Paul commands us to put off the old self and put on the new self. As you know, this is a growth process that involves our willing participation and our dying to our own will and desires. We are to follow Jesus’ mindset as He “made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” An emphasis on self-love can easily lead us away from Jesus’ mindset of sacrifice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *