The letter to the Philippians has a theme throughout it’s four chapters which is Paul’s admonishment to be of One Mind. In the very first chapter he tells them to “conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the ‘faith of the gospel.’
You see according to the scriptures all who have been born again are of the same Spirit and have been given the mind of Christ but we aren’t always operating from His mind. My friend Sylvia Pearce says, “Even though we Christians all have the heart of God we may still be operating with the mind of Satan.”
Well, how do we begin to operate from the mind of Christ then? Thankfully Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder but describes the mind of Christ in Philippians 2 saying, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Of course this is the very mind of Christ. Jesus Christ’s whole life was a life lived for another. He only did what His Father sent Him here to do and it was all for us. Even though by Him, through Him and for Him all things were created, He still gave up His own rights in order to set us free from our bondage of self-centered living. It truly takes the mind of Christ to do this in our lives. “The Servant” living in “the servant” is the only way.
In chapter two we also read about a couple of men that had the same mind and attitude as Paul so he trusted them to be his representative. He sent Timothy to Philippi in order to check on them. He said, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit (like minded) who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” So we see that the mind of Christ is defined by putting others first therefore the mind of Satan would be the opposite which is thinking of ourselves first. Doesn’t this sound like some of our Mothers? I grew up with two older sisters; and when you have siblings you have to learn how to see things from others perspective and how to share. This, I think, is some pretty good evidence we are all born with the Satanic mind. Hence the reason Paul admonishes us to “Let” this mind be in you. We have to let the mind of Christ operate in us or we will never come to the unity of the faith.
In Philippians three Paul tells a brief testimony of how he finally came to see his accomplishments and heritage as worthless compared to knowing Christ and gives them, and us, a warning about those that are earthly minded and self-seeking. He said, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” For those living only for earthly things there is no end to the cravings. If our appetites and earthly desires are the only thing driving us we will never be content. There truly is only one thing that brings human beings fulfillment and that is Christ himself.
As Paul finishes up his letter to the Philippians in chapter four he urges a couple women there to live in harmony or be of one mind in the Lord. Thankfully once again Paul doesn’t leave us wondering how to do this he gives us some very practical advice. He tells us to rejoice, be anxious for nothing but rather pray and be thankful as we let God know what we need. He then spells out for us what to let into our minds. He tells us to think only on things that are “True, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.” These are the secrets of the Apostle Paul’s thought life. By these things he has “learned to be content in whatever circumstances He’s in.”
While there are many, many troubles in this life there is one thing that is for sure. While we may have little or no ability to control the things that happen we do have the gift of the Mind of Christ and with that a choice in how to respond when these things find their way into our world.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”