Wednesday, June 1, 2011
So Let This Mind Be in You
In his letter to the believers at Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these words: "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so 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" (Phil. 2:5-11). This is our starting place for examining the mind of Christ. Lets break it down.
Within the first verse of this passage, we come to understand that Jesus did not cling to His privileges. While He was, indeed, God, He was also fully man. He purposely laid aside any advantages He had in order to humble Himself and become like a servant. In conversation with His disciples, Jesus frequently reminded them that if any one of them truly wanted to be great, he must be a servant to all. Jesus never ceased to be God, but He emptied Himself relinquishing heavenly status so that He might come and bring us salvation along with an example of how to live. For us to have the mind of Christ, we must be willing to do the same. Serving others, putting aside our comforts so that we might help others and reaching out to help the less fortunate are ways we can have the mind of Christ. It takes practice because we often have too great an opinion of ourselves and our abilities. Our Lord was decisive but studied in all He attempted to do. He took time to humble Himself in prayer before taking any action so He could honestly say He only did what the Father had told Him to do. Can we say that of our activities? Our decisions?
A second characteristic of the mind of Christ is obedience. Not only was Christ lowly in heart, He also followed the Father's commandments perfectly. There was never a time when Jesus sinned (2 Cor. 5:21). His submission to the Father's will had no flaws. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus knew He would face unbearable agony of body and soul, He told His heavenly Father "...if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). This is what submission looks like. Here is the mind of Christ. He laid aside His equality with the Father to be a completely obedient Son. He restored what the first Adam lost in terms of His unqualified surrender to the Almighty Father. What an example of love for us.
In closing his thoughts about the mind of Christ, Paul writes that God was pleased to exalt Him and give Him the name above all names. Why? Because Jesus fulfilled His mission as our perfect sacrifice having no spot wrinkle or blemish in His thinking or actions. Unlike those of us who are indecisive because we have either a) not asked God for wisdom or b) never looked into the Word of Truth; or those of us who make decisions on the fly like Peter drawing a sword to lop off the ear of the high priest's servant, Jesus kept His perspective. He fulfilled humbly the call of God and let nothing sway Him or get Him off track. Likewise, He remained fully obedient to His Father. Oh how I wish I could say this about my mind!
Neither my husband nor I will completely attain this worthy goal. He will work at becoming more decisive and I will stop trying to act like a bull in a china shop when it comes to decisions. What we both need is balance, and I believe that is what we are working towards as we follow Christ. May each of us daily put on the mind of Christ and understand that humility and obedience lead to God's blessings. Selah!
What are your thoughts on this important subject? I welcome your comments here.