We live in a time when the mind of Christ is the furthest thing from most people’s thoughts. In fact, if you were to ask people what is the mind of Christ, the majority would not be able to answer that question or would have a twisted idea of what that is. Has the understanding of what the mind of Christ is for the most part been lost to a culture that is consumed on satisfying self in one way or another?
What is the mind of Christ? There is a lot preached from America’s pulpits, among both the televised and local churches throughout the country, of what the mind of Christ is, but is what they are preaching really the mind of Christ? Let’s take a look at this and see for ourselves. In Philippians Paul tells us what the mind of Christ is, so I think that is probably the best place to start with this. Let’s take a look at it.
In Philippians 2:5, Paul tells us to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, so let’s see if we have the same mindset. Even though teachers and preachers of the Gospel tend to skip right past verse 6 of this same chapter, probably thinking that it doesn’t apply to us, but I believe that is the farthest thing from the truth. Why is it that verse 6 tends to get skipped over so frequently? Well, what does it say?
“who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, …” Philippians 2:6 (NKJV)
This verse talks of Jesus being in the form of God, and that He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, so how does this apply to us? No, we are not God, nor are we equal with God, so why is it that Paul felt that it was important to mention this? After all, this should be a “no-brainer”, right? Well, not necessarily. In Romans 8:12-17, we are told that not only are we adopted into the family of God, but we are also joint-heirs with Christ. Wow. That is awesome, to think that God values us, His creation, in such high regard that He would sacrifice His son for our salvation. And, to top it off, we’re not just adopted by God, but we’ve been made joint heirs with Jesus, our creator. Who said that God doesn’t love us and have such exciting things in store for us? Well, this is where we get tripped up. We hear a lot of preachers and teachers telling us how we are to live as children of the King, and that we should focus on living under the blessings and perks of that relationship, settling for nothing less. We hear how we should claim God’s promises for us in regards to health, prosperity and promotion, because after all Jesus made those things possible for us with His sacrifice and resurrection. We see and hear of scripture in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that reinforces this mindset, but do we just focus on those scriptures? Or, are we to also include the other scriptures in the Bible?
We as people have the tendency to grab a hold of key scriptures that we like and ‘tickle’ our ears, forgetting that there are other scriptures that we need to factor into the equation to get a balanced view of what God is saying to us? Philippians 2:6 is one of those verses that is often times, and conveniently, overlooked or passed right over. Paul tells us to have the same mindset of Christ, and to do so we need to consider this verse. Just as Christ is God and did not consider wrong to be equal with God, even so we need to have the confidence that we are children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus, but what did Jesus do with this confidence of who He is? Well, verse 7 tells us that He made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bondservant, and verse 8 tells us that He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. That puts an interesting twist to things, doesn’t it? How does this fit in with a lot of the teachings we hear these days, claiming God’s blessings and promises for us based on our ‘rights’ as children of God?
Am I saying that God doesn’t want to bless us or that He doesn’t want to fulfill the promises He’s made to us? Not at all! God does want to bless us, and He does want to fulfill His promises to us, but for us to make a lifestyle of claiming our ‘rights’ to those is wrong. There is a time when we are to claim our ‘rights’ to things, much like when Paul exercised his rights as a Roman citizen. Paul had been beaten and imprisoned on many occasions but never chose to claim his rights until he saw an opportunity to use it to further the Gospel and to take it to Rome. Just as Jesus never used His position as the Son of God to do anything for His own benefit and purposes, and just as Paul didn’t use his rights as a Roman citizen for his own benefit and purposes, even so we shouldn’t be exercising our ‘rights’ as children of God for our own benefits and purposes. We should only use what God has promised us as His children for the furtherance of the Gospel and the name of Christ, and to do that we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to when and how we should do so.
Many times we forget that this life we live is not our own, but is Christ’s life lived through us. We are called to be His ambassadors to a lost and dying world, reconciling men back to right relationship with Jesus. That doesn’t mean that God won’t bless us along the way, or that He won’t make good on His promises towards us this side of eternity, because He does do that, but as His bondservants we shouldn’t be claiming our rights to such things if we are truly working as His ambassadors. He is the one that determines how, where, and to whom we are to take Jesus to the lost and hurting, and because of that we need to be willing to go and do whatever He would have us to for the Gospel and the sake of Christ. Paul learned to be content in all things for the purpose of doing the will of God for him, and even so we need to learn to be content knowing that the salvation and healing of others is of greater importance than our temporal blessings and comforts of life. We have eternity to experience and enjoy ALL that God has for us, but let us not focus on storing up treasures or building empires in this life only to barely make it into heaven and have no real treasures have been stored up.
Think about these things. Are you living a life focused on living as children of the King now, with all its blessings, rights and comforts, or are you willing to go without for the purpose of doing the will of God and storing up treasures for yourself in heaven.