“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
(Philippians 2:5, NIV)
In this great Christological passage, Paul throws out a starling challenge: Reflect in your own mind the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ was more than His thinking processes; it was His entire inner disposition. It included His thoughts and motives and desires. Because we reflect the mind of Christ so imperfectly, we make a very slight impression on the cynical world around us. J. Stuart Holden writes: “The world does not believe in Him whom it has not seen, because it has cause not to believe in us whom it has seen.”
The mind of Christ is seen operating on two levels in this passage. On the level of deity, Christ did not count equality with God and its attendant majesty something to retained and grasped at all costs. He did not greedily cling to His rights as God’s equal. Instead, He emptied Himself. He resigned all His outward glory, veiled His majesty, and accepted the limitations involved in assuming human form. He could never be less than God, but He renounced the outward display of His majesty and glory. Yielding up the independent exercise of His divine attributes, He became a servant. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (KJV).
The mind of Christ displayed on the level of humanity. “He humbled himself” (v.8). We have every season to humble ourselves, but it was not so with Him. He did not demand, as He might well have done, such a standard of treatment as befitted His dignity. Instead of a palace, He chose a manger. His throne was a carpenter’s bench, and His sceptre a hammer. His university was a village school. So low did He stoop in His self-humiliation that He accepted the lowest step – death on the cross.
This display of His mind was progressive. It began in His thinking, led to self-abasement, and culminated in self-oblation. Sacrificial love led Him to take these downward steps, and we are to follow His example. His mind was the exact reverse of the worldly mind that revels in position and power; that considers wealth and possessions the greatest good; that delights in being served rather than in serving others; that shrinks from suffering and shame. “Have the same mindset.” “Let this mind be in you.”
[Edited, modified and modernized from Consider Him (1976) by J. Oswald Sanders]
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.