"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...[Who] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 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" (Phil. 2:5-8).
Paul urges disciples of Jesus to develop the mindset of Christ. What does this mean, and how can we develop this mentality? Let's consider these six aspects of Christ's mindset or attitude, as seen in the New Testament:
In the context of Philippians 2, the mind of Christ is a mindset of humility. It's the attitude of heart that is not selfish but willing to deny self and consider the needs of others first. That's why Jesus came to Earth and that's also why He died. If this mindset were faithfully adopted by all who affirm to be followers of Christ, the inevitable result would be unity and like-mindedness.
The humility of Christ is not seen only in His departure from heaven and death at Calvary. For example, He "rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded" (John 13:4,5). Jesus would willingly serve those whom He had created! He would serve them despite His superiority to them in every way. What about you? Do you have a mindset of humility or selfishness?
"Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth'" (I Pet. 2:21,22). It is true that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the mind (cf. Matt. 12:34,35). Since Jesus committed no sin with His speech (or actions), it can be reasoned that His mind was pure, holy, and righteous in every way. He was so pure that He, "when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (I Pet. 2:23). What about you? Do you have a mindset of purity or wickedness?
A mind or will that is weak will eventually compromise or give in completely to temptation or persecution. Jesus did not make concessions or quit. His objective was to seek and save the lost (cf. Luke 19:10), and He was never deterred from that mission. Hebrews 12:3 reads - "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." Only a strong mind could endure what Christ did throughout His earthly ministry and be unmoved by it. No matter what the devil did to tempt Him, He resisted with the wisdom of God upon His lips (cf. Matt. 4:1-11). What about you? Do you have a mindset characterized by strength or weakness?
Jesus affirmed in John 8:29 - "I always do those things that please [the Father]." In other words, Jesus was always mindful of being fruitful or productive by God's standard (not man's). Like the apostle Paul, Jesus' aim was not to please men but God (cf. Gal. 1:10). Jesus was exceedingly diligent in endeavoring to accomplish the Father's will, not His own. What about you? Do you have a mindset of fruitfulness for God or leisure and slothfulness?
Jesus' earthly ministry was full of prayer. For example, Luke 6:12 - "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Imagine, the Son of God communing with His Father in prayer all night! If one as noble and strong as Christ prayed continually, how much more should His followers today (cf. I Thess. 5:17)! What about you? Do you have a mindset of prayer?
While on the cross Jesus uttered these words in prayer - "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34). Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:2 - "Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." The love of Christ is seen everywhere in the actions of our Lord, and these actions spring forth ultimately from a mind that is saturated with concern for the well-being of others! What about you? Do you have a mindset of love or hate?
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5).