The Mindset of Christ
“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 emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
- Philippians 2:5-7
Paul writes challenging words here in his letter to the Philippians. These are words that we might want to leave with those in the church of Philippi; however, they are words for us today just as much as then. We, too, are instructed to have the mind of Christ. To illustrate what this mind of Christ looks like, Paul went on to write of the humility of Christ. Jesus was God, yet he gave up all his rights, privileges, and comforts to leave the heavenly realm and come dwell as one of us. Not only did Jesus come to earth as a human, but Jesus was not born in a palace as a king. Instead, Jesus was born in a stable. A stable filled with animals – their sounds, smells, and excretions. Though our modern pictures of the stable usually look quite clean and tidy, the birth experience of Jesus was a humble place, a messy place designed for animals and not the Son of God.
Paul will challenge his readers to consider that if Jesus was truly God and humbled himself to become a baby born in a stable, why are we so reluctant to embrace humility? The mindset of Jesus was exemplified in his willingness to come, to dwell among us, and to model a life of perfect submission and obedience to the Father. Jesus never demanded to be recognized as the Son of God. Jesus never demanded to be respected or admired. Instead, Jesus demonstrated the love, power, and holiness of God in all that he did without expectation for acknowledgement or glory.
The mindset of Jesus was humility, submission to the Father’s will, and perfect obedience. Paul exhorts his readers to have this same mindset. In his exhortation to develop the mindset of Christ, Paul knows that it is impossible for a person to cultivate this in his or her life. What Paul writes is that this mindset is already ours in Christ Jesus. Faith in Christ allows one to live the life of Christ. When a child of God seeks to have his or her mind transformed to be like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is there willing and able to work that transformation. It may not be a comfortable process. Jesus’ incarnation was surely not a comfortable process; however, it is through his pain that we receive all the rights and privileges of being a child of God.
As we come into Holy Week, take some time to ask the Lord if there is transformative work that he would like to do in you. How could you better have the mind of Christ in you? What does it look like for you to embrace this kind of humility, a humility that is willing to empty yourself and take the form of a servant in the kingdom of God? Are you truly submitting to the Father and living in obedience to his will for your life? The road to the cross requires sacrifice, yet it is the road to salvation, resurrection, and eternal life. Reflection:
What does the Lord want to work into your mindset today? Will you surrender and obey?
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