In the passage from Philippians, Paul encourages the people in the church to ever keep before them what was in the mind of Jesus Christ. The greatest temptation we can have as believers is to imagine ourselves to be greater than we are. We can be tempted to see ourselves as better than others – perhaps more righteous, more truthful, more honourable, more worthy of praise or thanks.
If the one who was indeed God in the flesh and who could have chosen to save himself chose to follow the path the Father had placed before him and remain obedient even to the point of surrendering this present life, can we or should we do anything else or less?
That is the challenge that Paul places before the people. If the one who could have made the world go his way chose to follow the path of the one who sent him into this world, what is to be our choice; what is to be our path?
The path we are encouraged to take as followers of God in Jesus Christ is the path that Christ revealed to us in his ministry and life. And that path was revealed to us through his teaching and example which revealed to us what was in his mind. And that mind that was in Christ Jesus is to be the mind that is to guide us as we wind our way through this veil of flesh.
We are to seek to do nothing from a selfish motive or out of a sense of our own self-importance. We need to be aware of our own needs and interests but also be willing to balance those needs and interests with the needs and interests of others. In other words, we need to consciously live in such a way as to be supportive of one another and allow each of us to feel fully engaged in the life of this community of faith and wherever life takes us.
We are to be mindful of the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual state of one another and seek as much as possible to bring wholeness into all our relationships with one another in community and beyond.
Paul appeals to the people to strive for unity in thought and action. He makes this appeal by directing them to think of what it means to each of them to be in relationship to God through Jesus Christ; he appeals to them by directing them to think of what it means to them to have received the Spirit of God into their lives. If their relationship to God in Christ, if the Spirit of God in their lives means anything to them, then their desire will be to seek to live with one another in such a way as to show a deep love for one another.
May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day
Jesus’ love and power controlling all I do or say.
Could we have faced what Jesus faced? Thankfully we will never have to answer that question because we were never expected to take his path. The path we are asked to take is that of disciple and it is a path we are called to take with each other. We are called not to be Christ but to be like Christ. We are called not to have the mind of Christ but to let the mind of Christ influence our daily thoughts and actions so that we may ever remain mindful of the one whom we acknowledge as Lord and Saviour and so that we may ever remain mindful of our calling to be servants of God as we live with one another in our community of faith!