The American Dream: Work hard enough and you can move up in the world. One great promise to America and the freedom it brings is that when you give it your all you can be upwardly mobile. In other words, you can move from being "poor" to being "rich." You can slip past lower class, dodge middle class, and become upper class no matter what your circumstances.
This opportunity comes with a cost. The idea of emptying yourself (or sacrificing for a cause) isn't new. But the submission and self-emptying espoused in Philippians isn't about being upwardly mobile. It is about being downwardly mobile.
Think about it. Those with influence (money, power, fame) strive to attain more. It makes sense that that self sacrifice can lead to more power - but who would do it to have less?
Jesus. According to Philippians 2, Jesus emptied himself to the point of death on the cross. This glorified God and enabled the redemption of humanity. He became downwardly mobile all the way to where you and I exist.
This kind of downward mobility should encourage us to think differently about our own actions. It may be counter intuitive to what we know but it cannot be ignored. If the most powerful being in the universe would use that power to humble himself to become like the powerless, what does that say about us in our positions?
Dear Jesus, thank you for meeting me where I am.
May I embrace a downward mobility like you,
that will help me connect to the least of these.