The point of this passage is that our attitudes should resemble the attitude of Jesus. Paul goes on to point out some things about Jesus that are worth noting as we examine our current attitudes.
He is God (v.6) – but he didn’t go around boasting about it. If anything, He downplayed it so that people would identify with Him as a man. Human nature does just the opposite. We try to make ourselves out to be more important and more impressive than we really are. There is a lot about attitude we could learn from just this one thing. But wait… there’s more.
He became a servant (v.7) – how many truly servant-minded people do you know. Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mt 20:28
He demonstrated humility (v.8) – This is how C.J. Mahaney defines humility in his book by the same name: “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” He quotes John Owen who augments this by saying: “There are two things that are suited to humble the souls of men. … A due consideration of God, and then of ourselves. Of God, in his greatness, glory, holiness, power, majesty, and authority; of ourselves, in our mean, abject, and sinful condition” (92).
He acted obediently (v.8) – And He did this even when it was not something He wanted to do. Obedience is easy when the reward is to our liking. But what about when the reward is death. An attitude that reflects joyful obedience, for the sake of obedience, is a rare thing – and a remarkable thing.
He was exalted (v.9) – The difference between Jesus and us is that we are often looking to be exalted. Sometimes even our serving can be self-serving – hoping that others will notice and make much of us. Jesus did not have any ulterior motives in doing what he did. but because He did what He did God exalted Him to the highest place.
He is Lord (v.11) – Those who seek to have the same attitude as Jesus have no problem at all in bowing before Him and acknowledging Him as Lord. It is when we seek to be lord of our own lives, when we try to be in control, that our attitudes get all out of whack and we need to be reminded all over again that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”