How to Have the Mind of Christ

How to Have the Mind of Christ

One of my favorite authors, Donald Grey Barnhouse, said, “Love that reaches up is adoration. Love that reaches out is affection. But love that stoops is grace.”

Philippians 2:5-11 deals with the incarnation of Christ, the miraculous event of God stooping to show His love and grace to humankind. In verses 5-7, we get an amazing look at Christ’s humility: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”

These verses describe what Christ did in coming to the earth. Now, don’t think for a moment that Jesus stopped being God when He came to redeem us. Jesus, who had the unchanging essential nature of God, also took on the unchanging essential nature of man, meaning He did not hold onto His privileges as deity nor His own individual authority. He was, in fact, fully God and fully man in one person.

When Jesus took on “the form of a bondservant” (v. 7), He didn’t just act like a servant; He served people. He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus was the Creator who surrendered to being a creature. That is love stooping.

In verse 8, Paul explained the humility of Jesus’ death: “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” This is the ultimate act of service. He willingly gave His own life for a mission that could be summed up in one word: forgiveness. So on the cross, He could say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

And God the Father responded to this humility: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (vv. 9-11).

If you ever wonder if the pain of humility is worth it, take note of Jesus. When you humble yourself and obey God, He will, in His own time and by His own means, exalt you (see Luke 14:11; 1 Peter 5:6).

Now, this leads us to the central point of Paul’s passage: the mentality of Christ. Go back to verse 5. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” That’s the motivation for humility. We are to humble ourselves and serve others because Jesus did it.

What does humility look like? Go back even further to verse 3: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Humility is not thinking badly about yourself; it is not thinking of yourself at all. Humility is the willingness to give up your will for another’s good.

And I guarantee you, if we as the church practice these few verses, we’ll stand out in our communities. If you do this in your business, there’ll be no other business in town like yours. If you do this at home, you’ll stand out on the block. As believers, we’re called to be like Christ, and this is Christlikeness in a word: humility.

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