WEEK 37: TAKING ON THE MIND OF CHRIST
A passage that helps me develop a Godlier-view of circumstances is Philippians 2:1-9.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
The key verse here is verse 5 where we are encouraged to take on a mind like Christ. The NIV version says to “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” We should pray that every day we can take on more and more of Christ’s ways of looking at our lives, circumstances, and most of all other people. Only when we are perfected in Heaven will we be able to do this with consistency, but hiding the Word in our hearts and staying in communication through prayer brings us closer to that ideal every day. Verses 2-4 make it clear that having the Christ-view of our circumstances means to be focused on others and not ourselves: “4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When we really look at our circumstances with the interest of others uppermost, we can sometimes see why God is unfolding a plan for our lives that is quite different from what we selfishly had in mind. I should say, He may be unfolding a plan for a sister or a brother, and our lives are meant to play only a supporting role.
This mind is very different from the mind we naturally have. Each of us lives our lives as if it is a movie rolling to the end, and that we are the star, the protagonist, the action figure. “Taking the form of a servant,” “humbling ourselves,” and “becoming obedient to the point of death” as Jesus did, is counter to all human impulse and desire. But I have seen it time after time turn out to be a blessing to the servant as much as to the person being served when a friend sets self aside and “counted others more significant than yourselves.”
God’s purposes are God’s purposes, and we are not guaranteed that He will let us decide how we are to be blessed in our lives. He decides how and when. But we know that no matter how counterintuitive it may be to sacrifice our will to do His will, that He will bless us in His way, the most perfect way. And He promises that good will result:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 2:8
And we do not have to wait to have the mind of Christ; it is ours to be enjoyed from the moment of our salvation. Verse 5 says, “5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” We do not have to wait to mature or be taught; we can ask the Lord to give it to us now.
Even though Jesus was already perfect in every way, this passage tells us a couple of things He did when He walked this earth that we can use as our model. According to verses 7-8 above, He practiced the admonitions of these verses we have examined today. It was Jesus who “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” Truly emptying ourselves of Self with a capital “S” can be done only with the help of the Holy Spirit. Pray for His assistance and transforming power.
Secondly, Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.” Examine your life. Is there a place where you are struggling to be obedient? Would you be obedient to the point of death?
Taking on the mind of Christ will change how you see others, will change your Christian walk, and will bring you greater peace and joy as you walk more closely and obediently with Him than you ever have.