“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.”—Philippians 2:5–7 (NKJV)
The next four days will cover one of the most powerful passages as well as one the most beautiful descriptions of the character and heart of Jesus Christ that you will find in the entire Bible. Here, the apostle Paul shows us how Christ is the ultimate example for the way to lead a life of purpose and substance, a life that honors the Father. And what’s the quality He hones in on? Humility!
He starts by imploring us to allow the mind of Christ to be within us. The Greek word for this phrase (phroneó) implies a personal opinion fleshing itself out in action. According to the HELPS Bible word study lexicon, “This idea is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking.” Thus, the idea is that this mind of Christ, the same humble, others-centered way of thinking, should become both an intellectual knowledge and a deeply instinctual thing.
How do we perceive this way of thinking on a practical level? Jesus, being the Son of God, stepped out of heaven into a barn. He slept in a place where animals ate out of. He worked with His hands and lived a humble, poor life as a carpenter. Jesus showed us how to be humble. He, being God, came to serve. He said, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28 ESV). God put us first! He died for us. He showed us what pleases God, what blesses God’s heart, what glorifies God. He showed us how to be more like God.
Calvary Chapel Albuquerque Pastor Skip Heitzig once said, “You’re never more like Jesus than when you humble yourself.” So, if Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15 NIV), was willing to lower Himself from His heavenly throne to become a man and take on the role of a servant to save us, then we are also called to walk in humility, lifting up the name of Jesus and living to serve others.
The “form” (morphé) of God is not a physical form. Jesus shares God’s nature; He isn’t another god. Before the incarnation, Jesus existed in the form of God. But in the incarnation, Jesus took on “the form of a bondservant.” God served us in humility. He became human surrendering access to His divine privileges and willingly died a shameful death. And thus, when it says He “made Himself of no reputation,” this selfemptying (kenósis) does not imply a loss of Christ’s deity or His divine attributes, because God cannot become anything less than God. At no point did Jesus cease to be God. Instead, it speaks of a surrendering of His divine privileges by taking on the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of man.
1. What does it mean for you to have the mind of Christ? How does that influence your actions and attitudes?
2. What are some of the changes you would need to make in order for you to have more of the mind of Christ?