The Mind of Jesus- Have Some?!
In my BBB (big brown Bible) (the one given to me by a brother who has been content to have his soul knit with mine for thirty-seven years now), Philippians 2:5 says this…“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” How do you read that text? Is it a suggestion? Is it a command? Is it an invitation? Personally I think I have regarded it in all three ways over the years.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse (especially since we’re studying Philippians in the auditorium class on Wednesdays). Doesn’t it sound so simple…really? Almost like you are sitting at dinner and someone passes you a bowl and says, “Here…have some mashed potatoes.” “Here…would you like some of the mind of Christ?”
Other translations help us understand what is meant by the mind of Christ. It is His attitude in life…His outlook…His priorities. So…Christ-followers are invited to have the attitude of Jesus Christ as they go about living their lives. Of course it follows that thinking like Jesus leads to living like Jesus. Now that’s easy to understand, but not so easy to do. How do we acquire the mind/attitude of our Savior?
It would make sense that, first of all, we have to want it. And this implies that we’ve had some exposure to the real Jesus Christ. Not just the One that preachers preach about…or the One that authors write about. Not just the One your parents told you about. You must be on the journey yourself…the journey to know Jesus Christ…to know Him as your Savior and your Lord and your constant Companion. You cannot know Him like this without getting into His Word yourself. And as you do this with an open heart things like faith, repentance, confession, baptism, worship, and service come into focus. Whatever it is that Jesus asks of you…as soon as you learn of it…becomes your goal. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we want to know…the more we want to respond well to the One Who loves us so.
All this inspires us to try to look at everything through Jesus’ eyes. We’re in no danger of doing this flawlessly, but that won’t keep us from staying at it, will it? No. And how does Jesus look at things? Back to Philippians. He was not moved to protect His own privileges and place. He was moved to give up everything, except His relationship with His Father, for you and me. He considered others better than Himself (Philippians 2:3b). Now there’s no sense in objecting here that others were not better than Jesus. Of course that’s true. In fact, there’s never, ever been even a single other human better than Jesus. But that’s not how He looked at it. He well understood the deep need of lost humanity and surrendered vast privileges to go and help. If His mind is growing in me, then I am letting go my selfish grip on my own rights and privileges in order to help see to the eternal needs of those around me.
Our Lord made Himself nothing, so must we. There was no real human need that He viewed as beneath His dignity to supply. He made Himself a Servant. What boundaries have we roped off in our own hearts and labeled “things we won’t do for anyone.” Maybe it’s beneath us, but it wasn’t beneath our Lord to touch lepers, rub shoulders with society’s outcasts and wash the filthy feet of twelve men who were so arrogant that they left the job for Jesus to do. In the final analysis this “attitude of Jesus” is not theory. It is only known…it is only real…in the laboratory of life as we go about seeking to serve and bless others just like our self-emptying Lord.
Look…here’s the attitude of Jesus Christ…shall we have some? Yes…please, Lord.