“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”
~Philippians 2:4-5 (NRSV)
It may seem an oversimplification that the Christian life is centrally a matter about living for others; in a very practical way, putting others’ needs before our own. When this is achieved glory is brought to God and our Lord, therefore, is worthily worshipped.
One of the biggest threats of spiritual life is the ever-growing clamour for the newer truth, the more sensational love, the most motivating sermon. In this we overlook the gospel basics in preference for a more aesthetic theology.
The gold of the message of Christ is in the same well-worn message, no matter how well we badge and re-badge it. That gold is in other-centredness. That gold is realised via the mind of Christ.
Our Imperative: To Think Like Jesus
As we read the Apostle Paul’s exhortations—namely the above, Colossians 3:1-4, and Romans 15:1-7, for instance—we gain a glimpse as to what it might be like to think like Jesus.
We might otherwise imagine the Jesus was some sort of genius thinker or riddle spruiker or storyteller or simple shepherd. He was all these and more. Not only did he have the mental capacity of God he had the full story, too—the whys and wherefores of creation, redemption, salvation, and sanctification.
There could not be a book written or a whole lifetime lived that could comprise the entire nature and working of Christ’s mind. And we haven’t even started on the Father-heart of God and humility-of-heart resplendent in the King of kings and Lord of lords.
What we can know, though, through Paul, is God’s longing that we would pursue the mind of Christ. It is both life’s greatest dignity and richest reward, but it is costly. It requires our surrender to do the basics and to do them well.
Steps on the Path to Jesus’ Mindfulness
Surely if we are to come any closer to achieving the mind of Christ we will need to know Jesus, as portrayed by the gospels, nt letters, and prophetic books, the best we can.
This means actually boarding-with the ancient text, delving so deeply via meditation over the Word that our thinking starts to become challenged and, hence, transformed. The Spirit of God, as it inhabits us, thrives in transformation and shrivels in stagnation. Our minds need to rent a holy place with which to inhabit, when soaking in the Word, so as to get to know the Lord from the imagery painted by the Holy Spirit.
We need to become fascinated by the workings of Jesus’ mind.
And we’ll only gain more of the mind of Christ if it becomes the most important thing.
The same old and tired words must be written, again and again; indeed, ten and one hundred and one thousand years from now, the message will be the same.
We ought to get used to it.
Simplicity is key: Read the Bible with passion. Do what it says. Allow it to speak into our lives. Let prayer be an ever-abundant, continually-open line of communication from, with, and to the Spirit of God.
Do it now. Do it always.
While we do it we have the mind of Christ.
A test of Christ-mindedness could be: the level of the capacity, motivation, and compassion we have for others; seeing them, and us via our interaction, from the perspective of eternity.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.