Philippians 2:1-4 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.
Of the Same Mind
There is much talk today of unity of mind and purpose and heart, but not all of it is unity with the mind, purpose and heart of Jesus Christ. Much of it is unity with humans and their way of thinking, and their human hearts, and their human purposes.
So, we must be discerning with regard to with what or with whom we unite and are of the same mind, heart, love and purpose. Thus, we must know and understand the mind of Christ and how that differs from how human flesh thinks, so that we make certain that our “same mind” is the mind of Christ and not that of man.
We learn the mind and love of Christ first of all by being in relationship with Jesus Christ, by faith in him, and then via the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. We also learn the mind, heart, purpose and love of Jesus by reading the Word of God, the Bible (Genesis to Revelation).
There we can see how Jesus lived, and what he thought, and how he felt. But, it is not just in the four gospels that we gain this understanding. For, the rest of the New Testament was also God-breathed and thus it is the Words of Christ, too. So, in all of it we can see his heart, his mind, and his love and purposes for us, his followers.
So, when we have the same mind and love of Jesus, then we will also have the same mind and love as other believers in Jesus who also have his mind and love (and purpose and heart, too). And, this will be obvious when we gather together, when we get to know one another, and we share with one another what the Lord is teaching us or how we are growing in our faith, or when we observe how God is using one another in other people’s lives.
For, we will care about one another, and we will want what is best for each other, and we will willingly sacrifice our time and talents for the benefit of each other, for what is in the best interest of each one of us. We will give of ourselves and our hearts and even our reputations in order to minister to one another’s legitimate needs, and to share God’s love and his gospel of grace with them, which demands death to sin and living to righteousness, for this is why Jesus died (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24; Jn. 6:35-66).
Philippians 2:5-11 ESV
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. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In All Humility
To have the same mind as Christ, we need to empty ourselves of ourselves, and not be prideful or selfish. This is not to say that we can never express our needs or that we can’t make prayer requests to God to meet our needs, or that we can’t confront others who are sinning against us. For, Jesus definitely prayed about his needs to the Father, and he definitely confronted those who sinned against him during his life of ministry on the earth.
But, he willingly suffered and died for us, and he made himself of no reputation, but he endured much hatred, persecution, and rejection. He did all this for you and for me, that he might sympathize with us in our weaknesses, and that he might become our sacrificial Lamb, whose blood was shed on a cross for our sins.
Jesus, although he was sinless, learned obedience through the things which he suffered, and he became obedient to the point of death. Let me repeat that. Jesus, although perfect, became obedient to the point of death.
So, if we are to have the same mind as that of Christ, we need to also be obedient to Christ to the point of where we are put to death, too, because of our faith in Christ and our testimonies for him and for his gospel message. To have the same love as him is to love people enough to tell them the truth about their sin, their eternal destiny, and of their need to repent of their sins and to follow our Lord in obedience, even if it means they hate us in return.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
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.
With Fear and Trembling
This is not about works-based salvation. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Yet, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of the Spirit in our lives, and not those of our own flesh. They are us cooperating with God’s work of grace in our lives by doing what he tells us we must do, and by us not resisting him and his commands.
For, you see, God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sinful practices. His grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs (demands) us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return.
God’s grace to us is a free gift, but the gift is the power, the authority, and the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives to resist the devil, to flee temptation to sin, and to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. It is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card. And, it is progressive and ongoing. Our faith must endure to the end if we want to have eternal life with God.
Also, please know that if we walk (in lifestyle) in sin, according to our flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity. So, don’t believe the lies that tell you that you can pray a prayer and you are now guaranteed eternal life with God in heaven no matter how you live your life from this moment forward.
For, we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21, etc.).
So, don’t take God’s grace for granted. Don’t take God for granted. Don’t think he is looking the other way while you continue in your sinful practices while professing him as Lord of your life. For, one day you are going to come before him, and you are going to say “Lord, Lord,” and he is going to say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” So, don’t be fooled. Repent today!
Teach Me, Lord
An Original Work / June 12, 2011
Teach me, Lord, to walk in Your ways,
And observe all You command.
May I ever hasten to You,
And desire to not offend.
Teach me how to follow Your steps,
Gently guiding me each day.
May I love and serve You always,
Loving others, this I pray.
Teach me, Lord, to listen to You
Speaking Your words to my heart.
May I never stray from Your truth,
And from Your law ne’er depart.
Teach me how to instruct others
In the way that we should go,
Leading them by my life witness,
So that Jesus they should know.
Teach me, Lord, to be a light in
This dark world of grief and sin.
May I always care for others;
Share their burdens; help to mend.
Teach me how to share with them that
Jesus came to set them free,
So that they could be forgiven;
Live with Christ eternally.
Friday, July 13, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for giving up your life for us that we might go free from our slavery to sin and walk in your righteousness.