“Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (NRSV)
Is it even possible to put on the mind of Christ? I mean, we certainly aren’t Christ, even though we sometimes try to reach that impossible goal. The passages in Philippians 2:1-13 give us some guidance: share love, be united, agree with each other, don’t be selfish, think of others, care about others. Jesus emptied himself and came down from his place in the Trinity to be here on earth so that we might learn more about God and how God would have us live.
Think about it, if we all lived that way, the world would be less terrifying and more peaceful. Families would work at getting along and resolving conflicts. Church folks would demand their own way or try to push their own agendas but would work through things trusting God’s guidance. Marriages and other relationships would be healthier because we think of the other person.
This passage may sound like we aren’t supposed to take care of ourselves and could even imply being humble so that we are like a rug someone could walk all over. Yet, I don’t believe that is the intention of the passage. In the middle is this beautiful hymn about Jesus who gave of himself, became human so that we could all have salvation, know forgiveness, and be in healthy relationship with God and each other.
That seems to me to be the goal of the Christian life. Yet we live in a violent and self-centered world. Maybe the Christian church needs to stand up and, instead of judging, live in the world so the ripple effect spreads and good can overcome evil. We have the gifts to make that happen, and although we can’t necessarily do it on a larger scale, we can start in our own families, in our churches, and wherever we are in relationships with others. LIVE COUNTERCULTURALLY!
It’s not easy, but then, Jesus didn’t find human life easy either, did he? In fact, he died on a cross in a vicious and cruel death even though he had done nothing wrong except question the establishment. Putting on the mind of Christ means having the strength to stand up to evil or wrong and to know that, in the end, God will prevail! May it be so!