Philippians 1:27-2:11

The Mind of Christ.

Philippians 1:27-2:11

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. – Philippians 2:3-5 NLT

Paul starts out this section with a reminder to “live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ” (Philippians 1:27 NLT). But because this statement could be taken in a thousand different ways, Paul clarifies what he means. For one thing, it entails “standing together with one spirit and one purpose fighting together for the faith” (Philippians 1:27b NLT). Living as a citizen of heaven involves living in unity as part of a community and sharing a common cause. There is to be a mutual care for and dependence upon one another as together we do battle against those forces that would oppose the Good News of Jesus Christ. And because we are in a war for the faith, Paul tells us not to allow ourselves to be intimidated by our enemies. They are real, but so is our God, who will stand beside us, fight for us, and ultimately save us. The battle in which we find ourselves is proof that our faith is real. Jesus Himself told us that we would suffer in this life. He also told us that the world would hate us. The battle is part of the cost and the privilege of following Christ. But we are to do it together, not alone.

Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions designed to accentuate the value of our relationship with Christ. “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” (Philippians 2:1 NLT). The obvious answer to each of these questions is, “Yes!” But we experience the encouragement, love, fellowship, and tender compassion in the midst of community. That is how God has chosen for this to work. The body of Christ is the context in which the love of Christ is lived out. It is the environment in which we are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News. And Paul gives us a very vivid description of just what that should look like. It is to be characterized by a single-minded, unified expression of love, focus and purpose. While the local church is a unique blend of different individuals from diverse backgrounds, with a variety of gifts, talents, and personality types, it is to reflect a Spirit-enabled unity that is not of this world. To conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News is to live together in such a way that our actions and attitudes toward one another reflect the change that has taken place within us. Our new lives are to be characterized by selflessness rather than selfishness, humility rather than pride, a senses of mutual care rather than individual concern. The attitude or mindset that we are to have is the same one Jesus Himself displayed when He walked this earth. And Paul carefully and eloquently describes just what that mind of Christ was like.

Jesus, though God, willingly demoted Himself to the position of a man by taking on human flesh. He did not become any less God, but He left His place at the right hand of the Father and allowed Himself to be born as a human baby, the most helpless, dependent, weak and non-influential form He could have taken. Not only that, when Jesus was born, His whole intent was to become a slave to all men, to serve all men by giving His life as payment for their sins. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NLT). He came in order to take “the humble position of a slave.” And in His human form, His life was characterized by complete and total obedience to the will of His Father. “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will” (John 6:38 NLT). “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work” (John 4:34 NLT). And the obedience of Jesus was so complete that it resulted in His death on the cross as a substitute payment for the sins of men. That was God’s plan and Jesus fulfilled it willingly and completely. Humility, selflessness, obedience. Those attributes represent the mindset that Jesus had and are to present in the lives of those who call themselves His followers. Paul tells us we are to have the same attitude or mindset. We are to reflect His character, and the most logical place for this to show up is within the body of Christ, the church. We are to live as citizens of heaven, which is where we will all spend eternity together. But we are to live that way here and now, conducting ourselves in a way that is in keeping with the life-changing, heart-altering power of the Gospel. We have been saved by Christ in order that we might live like Christ. Our greatest testimony is not just what He has done for us, but what He is doing through us as we live out our salvation in mutual love, selflessness, sacrifice, humility and unity. We truly are the hands, feet, heart, and voice of Christ on this earth. May we live as He did. May we love as He did. May we impact lives as He did. Together.

Father, give us the mind of Christ. May we learn to live our lives in such a way that they reflect His presence within us. Oh, that we would allow His Spirit to empower and direct us, causing us to live increasingly more selflessly, instead of selfishly. Show us how to live as citizens of heaven, where we will one day spend eternity together. Bring these verses alive in our daily lives in a real and tangible way. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

2 thoughts on “Philippians 1:27-2:11

  1. Pingback: Leave Your Past Where It Is | LSW Ministries "No One Left Behind"

  2. Pingback: God Wants to Promote You | Prophetic Voice

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