The Reading: Philippians 1:27-2:11
“Have this mind … which you have in Christ Jesus” (2:5) RSV
This is a rich passage that can only receive scant treatment this week. Paul’s plea is that Christians live up to their high calling, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (v.27). The result of doing so does not sound too tempting for it will involve “suffering (v.29) and “conflict” (v.30). But the fact is that it is the path trodden by Jesus Christ, and if we are to follow him then we cannot expect better treatment.
We are, in other words, to have the same “mind” or attitude as our Saviour. The word “mind” is used three times in this passage (2:2, 5). The Philippians are to have the “same mind” and “one mind” which they “have in Christ Jesus”. And what was that “mind”? It was, “To empty ourselves of all but love”.
Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross” (v.8). Jesus travelled from Heaven to Hell and back again. It was excruciatingly costly. But he did it out of love. No other motive could have paid the price. The temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness at the start of his ministry and in the Garden of Gethsemane at the end of his ministry show us the painful process of fighting the battle against the Evil which has this world by its throat.
Of course the sacrifice of Jesus (who was God in human form vv.6-8) was not the end of his story. Any sacrifice done out of love will have a happy ending. Jesus died, yes, but Jesus rose from the dead, “death could not hold him” (Acts 2:24). Jesus “for the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2), endured the cross.
God is no man’s debtor. If we give to him and for him, then he will give to us. Eternal and everlasting life lies before us. Let us keep that strongly in mind, as did Christ; it will strengthen us in our time of trial.
May the mind of Christ my saviour live in me from day to day. And may I have the courage to live it out. Amen.
1 What does Paul say about renewing our mind?
2 Who has the mind of Christ?