Scripture

Philippians 2: 5-11

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection

When I read this short passage of scripture, it always makes me quiver a bit. It humbles me.  It reminds me of the awe, and the extraordinary sacrifice Jesus made for us. Jesus was in his very nature, God, but also human. And as a human, I know how selfish I can be. How could anyone completely put him or herself aside, emptying his or her mind of self-serving thoughts and action? I can do it on a limited scale, sometimes more than others, but Jesus did this every waking moment. And he is our example of how to live. I’m not sure most of us take this seriously enough. Do you? I am reminded of the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice every time I read this passage or one like it.

Jesus is the manifestation of the character of God. He became a vessel for humility and sacrificial living. In our relationships with one another, we are to have the same mindset of Christ. How do we do this? The obvious answers apply - daily reading of scripture, prayer and worship of God. But when I think about a mindset, I think about a narrow focus. So what focus could we take that would give us the mindset of Jesus? It is that of a servant. Jesus took on this mindset even though he was in his very nature, God. Sure, Jesus taught, and ate, and laughed with his friends. But, he was all the while working toward an end which he knew would be death. And, not just any death, but a public and humiliating death. He taught all he could, shared all he had, and gave all he was for the rest of us.

So, when I find myself being self-serving, I remind myself of one word, “servant.” Am I being a servant to these people? Am I serving my purposes or God’s? Am I behaving, thinking, and talking like a servant or like someone who knows it all and has it all? There is a distinct difference, and that one word reminds me of the mindset of Jesus. 

Prayer

God, you continually call me to live a sacrificial life, and yet I fall short. Help me to see others the way you see them. Help me to be a person who serves others with all that I am and all that I have. You gave so much for me, Lord. Thank you. Guide me to live a life that honors your gift. In Jesus’ name, Amen.