Sometimes when I am sitting quietly, my wife will smile and tell me what I am thinking. She is almost always right. We truly know someone when we understand the way they think. In today’s passage, Paul opens a window into the mind of Christ and reveals how He thought of Himself. These verses begin one of the most important passages of Scripture for understanding the nature of Christ. We will be looking at it in detail over the next three days.
Paul’s starting point is a little surprising, given the application of verse 5, which says that we should have the same mindset as Christ. We are not equal with God, so how can we be of the same mind? But Paul’s point is simple. Although Jesus did not cease being divine when He took upon Himself human nature, He did lay aside the advantages that came with divine status. The Greek text says that He did not view equality with God as something to be grasped or exploited. In other words, Jesus did not cling to His rights and prerogatives, even though He was divine as well as human.
Those who share this way of thinking do not grasp power or prestige. They do not demand that others recognize their position but are more interested in serving. One cannot help seeing a shocking difference between Christ’s mindset and the mentality of leaders who exploit the churches they are supposed to serve. They feel that the church owes them special privileges and extra benefits. They enrich themselves at the expense of the church. They are arrogant and selfish, treating the church’s resources as if they were their personal property and its members their own servants.
>> Leaders are not the only ones who need to have the mindset of Christ. Is there something you need to release your grip on today? Do you demand that people notice you and give you your rights? Are you hanging on too tightly?
Lord, convict us of any areas where we mistake our stubbornness for passion, or rudeness for mere assertiveness. Refine us to reflect Christ in biblical meekness and love.