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“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Romans 15:5–61
How can we hope to achieve to any degree the mindset of Christ? We are not divine in nature as He is, and we are constantly engaged in a battle of spirit against the flesh. Though our hearts are willing, the flesh overcomes all too often, and we find ourselves in a perpetual state of reaching beyond our grasp.
Jesus is our example. As a man on earth, He professed no ability or agenda of His own, but lived exclusively to fulfill the will of His Father. He did this in unequivocal obedience to His Father and utter dependency on Him. This was not a passive dependence by any means, but one in which He took on the very nature of a servant and living every day in active obedience within the context of complete dependence.
To have the mindset of Christ is to be skeptical of any sense of self-sufficiency, and to realize that Christ in us is our strength, our sustenance, our wisdom, and our righteousness. Jesus died and rose again so that, having removed our guilt, He might occupy that place in our lives as Lord to direct and empower us. This means that His will trumps our comfort and convenience on every level. Obedience to Him, though seemingly costly at times, will always yield the deep satisfaction our hearts look for.
The likeness of Christ is not brought about by imitation but derivation, as Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”2 God has exemplified in Jesus Christ the mind, attitude, and disposition that characterize the Christian life. If we are going to please God and find the fulfillment we are intended to have, then we need to acquire the mindset of Christ. This does not mean making all the right moves at all the right times. Acquiring the mindset of Christ is to live in a loving relationship of dependence on Him and obedience to Him, just as He lived with His Father.—Brett McBride
Becoming like Jesus
Being a Christian means doing what we can to be like Jesus. We will never be perfect and without sin as Jesus was, of course, because we have our human nature to contend with. But as Jesus’ followers we are to try to resemble Him in the way we live our lives and interact with others.
To “be like Jesus” means trying to live according to Jesus’ teachings and example. It means applying our faith to the everyday events of our lives. It means doing our best to align our thoughts, our attitudes, and our reactions with His. It means looking to Jesus’ instruction and example before drawing conclusions or making decisions. It means pausing from our own activities and thought processes in order to enter into His Spirit, so He can guide us, live in us, and work through us. It means following in the footsteps of the Master, doing our best to be like Jesus in every area of our lives.
Being like Jesus goes deeper. It’s more than merely copying His “style.” It involves Jesus living in us, and us living in Him. He told His followers, “Abide in Me, and I in you. ... I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”3 To be a fruitful Christian is to live in Jesus and to allow Him to live in us.
We partake of Jesus’ divine nature through developing and maintaining a deep relationship with Him, absorbing and applying His Word, and looking to Him for guidance and instruction. When we do these things, our thoughts and actions will be aligned with His. The apostle Paul talked about having the “mind of Christ,”4 which implies thinking, reacting, and acting like Jesus would.
The more we “abide in Jesus,” the more of our nature we relinquish and the more of His nature we take on, the more His thoughts, attitudes, actions and reactions will become our own. We will take on more of His characteristics, more of His love, kindness, meekness, and all the other fruits of the Spirit.5We will become more like Him.—Peter Amsterdam
Interfacing with God
Through the Holy Spirit, God has made us “partakers of the divine nature”6 so that we can have all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Himself. Think of the human mind as a computer, and the Holy Spirit as a sort of anti-virus program that can be uploaded to the human hard drive. Once the program is uploaded, that “mind” can then affect all the computer’s systems, taking out harmful applications and replacing them with good, functional applications.
Continuing the analogy, the mind of Christ rewrites our hard drives so that we are capable of understanding, or interfacing with, God Himself. We gain new desires and qualities, like humility,7 compassion8 and other godly “fruit.”9 We have a new purpose that is aligned with His10 and we can see clearly the reality before us that this world is temporal and flawed, and that we are meant for an eternal world.11 …
Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to the believer, filling him or her with understanding and hope of a future inheritance, which is a glorified existence.12 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”13
Finally, having the mind of Christ is not something that is reserved only for “perfect” people. Any and every believer has access to the mind of Christ through faith. However, we also still have the old mind. … Our minds need to be consistently renewed, moving away from the mind of the flesh and into the mind of Christ.14
Ultimately, all who have the mind of Christ, those who belong to God, will be sanctified, or changed by the new program that has been installed by the Holy Spirit.15 The process unfolds over a lifetime, and God is faithful to bring it to completion.16—From Compelling Truth17
The mindset of a servant
“Whoever wants to become great must be a servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave”—these are the words of Jesus to His disciples.18 Our Savior and Lord not only said this, He lived it. He washed the feet of His disciples—even the one who would betray Him. Afterwards, He said to them all, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”19
The image of Jesus at the feet of His disciples sets a powerful counter-cultural precedent for us. It models humility before our eyes—one of the hallmarks of the Christian life. But what does humility mean for us as we live here and now? …
In our relationships with one another, we are to have the same mindset as Christ—who came not to be served but to serve. We are to exercise humility toward those in our churches, small groups, families, and neighborhoods. When we count others as more significant than ourselves and serve one another in this way, the church functions as God designed.
Ultimately, humility means surrendering control to God. To live as if you are in control breeds anxiety. But as you humbly recognize that God is in control and you are not, you will have peace as you walk with Him—regardless of your circumstances. How freeing!
Christ is our ultimate example of humility, “who, being in very natureGod, 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.”20 The God of the universe came not with a scepter but with a towel. He washed the dusty, callused feet of his disciples—one of them His enemy. And if the King of heaven can serve in such a way, so can we.
The Holy Spirit is within us, working humility in our hearts so that we might live like Christ. With His help, we can practice humility. We can be realistic about our weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and hang-ups. At the same time, we can be realistic about the greatness of our God. If we follow Him, He promises that we “will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”21 The earthly treasures of this life will certainly perish, but the reward that Jesus has for His humble, faithful servants never will.—From Leading the Way22
Published on Anchor May 2022. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by John Listen.
2 Galatians 2:20.
3 John 15:4–5 ESV.
4 1 Corinthians 2:16.
5 Galatians 5:22–23.
6 2 Peter 1:4.
7 Philippians 2:5–8.
8 Matthew 9:36.
9 Galatians 5:22–23.
10 Luke 19:10.
11 1 John 2:15–17.
12 Colossians 1:27.
13 Romans 5:2.
14 Romans 12:2.
15 Hebrews 10:10, 14.
16 Philippians 1:6.
18 See Matthew 20:26–27.
19 John 13:15.
20 Philippians 2:6–7.
21 1 Peter 5:4.