Warren Wiersbe relates a story about a reporter who was interviewing a successful job counselor. He had helped hundreds of workers find happiness and fulfillment in their vocations. When asked the secret of his success the man offered this insight.
“If you want to find out what a worker is really like, don’t give him responsibilities give him privileges. Most people can handle responsibilities if you pay them enough, but it takes a real leader to handle privileges. A leader will use his privileges to help others and build the organization; a lesser man will use privileges to promote himself.”
In Philippians 2:1-8, Paul points out that Jesus used his divine privileges for others. For you. And me. Not himself.
The key verse in this text in terms of our personal application is verse 5. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Strong’s Dictionary says the word “mind” means “to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed in a certain direction.”
Thayer defines “mind” here “to have understanding, be wise. To think. To feel. To direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek or strive for.”
Both the NIV and NASU render the word “attitude.” “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Therefore, having the mind of Christ is to think like Jesus thought. To feel as He felt. To see others as He saw them. To emulate his actions. And to develop His attitude.
The text addresses issues of unity and harmony with the Family of God. Division and disunity are the results of “selfish ambition,” and “vain conceit” (v. 3). Oneness of heart, soul and purpose among Believers is attained when each one is “like-minded, having the same love,” and showing “tenderness and compassion” to one another.
Therefore, Paul exhorts, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others” (v.4).
This worthy goal is ultimately achieved when we imbibe the attitude of Christ What is the substance, the core, and essence of His attitude? It can be summed up in this text by five words.
Jesus’ mind was not a stubborn mind, but a surrendered mind. His attitude to the Father was, “Not my will, but your will be done” (Lk. 22;42).
The measure of our submission to the Lord is determined by how closely we aligned our thinking with Jesus’ attitude.
Jesus was not a self-exalting person, but rather a self-abasing one. In His ministry and in interactions with others He was giving. Generous. Charitable. And helpful.
You can’t be full of yourself and have the mind of Christ.
Jesus’ life was one of service. He said that he “came not to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).
Saints seeking to develop the mind of Christ must partake of this quality and seek service above self.
Jesus not only served, but his service was sacrificial. He sacrificed heaven’s glory to come to earth and dwell among mankind. He sacrificed His divine prerogatives to become human and share in our experiences. And He sacrificed His life and died on the cross that we might live eternally.
Is it too much for Him to call on us to “give our bodies as a living sacrifice”? To reject conformity to this world’s passion and pride? And to seek spiritual transformation by daily discipleship and constant mental renewal? (Rom. 12:1-2)
In a word Jesus’ attitude was spiritual. His focus was on the spirit, not the flesh. On the spiritual instead of the material. On the heavenly not the earthly.
You and I will never acquire the mind of Christ without a deep desire to become more spiritually minded in our attitudes and actions.
Think how the application of this text would improve our relationships.
- Husband and wives would overlook petty grievances, irritating habits, and not keep a record of wrongs.
- Neighbors would look out for each other. Be friendly. And willing to lend a helping hand.
- Brethren would be kind to one another. Concerned. Compassionate. And forgiving each other’s shortcomings.
- Business meeting would be civil. Without rancor, ugly accusations, or partisan bickering.
- Shepherds would be servant-leaders. Not looking at their work as a position to exercise power, but a means to produce spiritual growth, individually and collectively.
- Preachers would use their ministry to exalt Christ, not themselves. To preach the Word, not personal opinions. And to promote God’s purpose for his people, not partisan politics.
Finally, imagine having the mind of Christ and being respectful of people’s widely differing opinions, practices, and judgments during a pandemic?
“Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman