Are you consistent in character? Are you the same, no matter who you are with? Or, where you are at the moment? Or, whether people are watching you or they aren’t? Or, without regard to your circumstances?
Or, are you one person out in public and another in private, or when at home? One person when people are watching, but another when you think no one is looking? Or, do you blend in with your environment and become like whoever you are with at the moment? Or, do you put on one face when you are trying to influence someone in a particular direction, and then have another face when your guard is down? And, you think no one is paying attention to you? In other words, are you a “Jekyll and Hyde”?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Philippians 2 (Select vv. ESV).
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Vv. 1-4
These are instructions to the church, the body of Christ, that we are to be like-minded with one another. Yet, the mind we are to be like is that of Jesus Christ. Thus, if our minds are shaped after the mind of Christ, then we should also have unity of mind and heart with one another.
Nonetheless, the Lord Jesus is taking me on a slightly different path with this passage of scripture this morning, as he is having me look at the subject of being of the “same mind” as also having to do with us as individuals being of one mind with ourselves, which is the mind of Christ.
In other words, we are not to be double-minded or two-faced because we present one image one time and then another, at a different time, due to what suits our purposes at the moment, such as what image we want to show to what people under particular circumstances.
Basically, if we are being of “one mind,” that being the “same mind,” and that being the mind of Christ, then we should be consistent and honest. There should be no double-dealing going on with us in how we present ourselves to others or in our thinking, believing, attitudes, character and behaviors. And, none of us should be chameleons, either.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Vv. 5-8
So, what is the mind of Christ which we are to be like? When he walked the face of this earth, and he lived in a flesh body, he was humble. He was self-sacrificing for the needs of others. He didn’t demand his own way or his own rights, but he had the heart of a servant. He cared more about our salvation than he cared about his own reputation, or what others thought of him, or how they might treat him. His goal was to save us, not himself.
So, if we have the mind of Christ, which is also single-minded toward God the Father, in devotion to him, then we should, as well, be single-minded toward God in having purity of mind and heart in devotion to God, and in service to our fellow human beings. We should empty ourselves of pride and we should deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) God.
We should regard others as more significant than ourselves, and we should reach out to meet their needs, even if it means we are hated, mistreated, rejected and/or misjudged, in return. We can’t be worried about what people might think of us, nor should we be looking for accolades in order to decide whether or not we should obey the Lord. In other words, getting “likes” should not be what motivates us or what determines the direction we should go with our lives. We should be God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers.
If we are walking in obedience to the Lord, in single-minded devotion to him, and we are ministering his love and grace to others, then we won’t be going back and forth like on a teeter-totter in our minds (character, behaviors, attitudes, choices), trying to blend in with the world in order to receive their acceptance, or being two-faced, i.e. hypocritical in order to impress others or to hide sins. We will be honest, trustworthy, and godly consistently.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
What is our salvation? It is being turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. It is death to sin and living to righteousness. It is forgiveness of sin. And, it is deliverance from both the punishment of sin and slavery (addiction) to sin, so that we can now walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh.
It is not something we can generate within ourselves. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve it. It is a free gift of God’s grace to us, but the gift is much more than just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. The gift of salvation is death to sin and living to righteousness. When we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Many people get confused here, and they see the free gift of salvation as meaning that nothing is required of them and as though works are not involved at all. But, what they miss is what the “gift” really is. It is death to sin and living to righteousness, by the Spirit, and in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us, but as we yield to that work of grace in our lives. And, this is what it means to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, understanding that it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
So, although we can do nothing to earn or to deserve our salvation, and it is a free gift of God’s grace to us, the gift is that we are delivered out of slavery to sin and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus, empowered by the Spirit living within us, to be lived for God’s purposes and for his glory. It is God who does that work within us, but we have to do what he says.
And, what this means for us is that, if we have received this free gift of salvation, and we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus, and we now have the mind of Christ, then we should no longer be double-minded (Jekyll and Hyde), but we should be of one mind, consistently, and that being of the same mind and character as that of Jesus Christ.
Near the Cross
Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 12:17 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. May we all be of one mind with you. Amen!