Philippians 2:1-11 – “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 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. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” NKJV
Let’s consider the SUBMISSIVE MIND. Contrary to what some seem to think this does not mean that the believer is to live at the beck and call of everybody else or that he/she is a religious doormat to be walked on. Some people try to gain friends and maintain church unity by “giving in” to the whims of everyone else. That is not what Paul is teaching! Paul gives some definitive and clear examples of a person exhibiting a “Submissive Mind.”
Jesus Christ – – [vv. 1-11], Paul himself – – [vv. 12-18], Timothy – – [vv.19-24], and Epaphroditus – – [vv. 25-30]. Clearly, the greatest example is Jesus. In Christ Jesus, we find the four primary characteristics of a person who has a Submissive Mind and one in whom is Abundant Joy.
- He Thinks of Others Above Himself – – [Philippians 2:5-6].
Having the ‘mind’ of Christ means to have the ‘attitude’ of Jesus. Our attitude should be the same as that of our Lord Jesus Christ. [v. 5 NIV]. I have often used the thought that “Attitude determines outlook and outlook determines outcome.” When Paul speaks of the “form of God” he is not talking about a particular human shape but rather the “outward expression of the inward nature.” He is talking about God’s nature and character, not some physical shape.
Jesus had need of nothing and we find our LORD repeatedly demonstrating that He did not think of Himself but was constantly focused on the needs of others. His outlook (Attitude) was that of unselfish concern for others. The mind or attitude of Christ says, “I cannot keep my privileges for myself, I must use them for others; and to do this, I will gladly lay them aside and pay whatever price is necessary.”
A Good Illustration:
There was a reporter who interviewed a successful job counselor who had placed hundreds of workers in their vocations. When asked what the secret of his success was, the counselor said, “If you want to find out what a worker is really like, don’t give him responsibilities give him privileges. Most people can handle responsibilities if you pay them enough, but it takes a real leader to handle privileges. A true leader will use his privileges to help others and build the organization; a lesser man will use the privileges to promote himself.” Jesus used and uses His heavenly privileges for the sake of others, “Whosever will…” YOU AND ME!
A contrast that is worthy of consideration is the attitudes of Jesus, Lucifer, and Adam as seen in Isaiah 14:12-15, and Genesis 3:1-7. Lucifer was once one of if not the highest ranking angelic beings and had a position near the Throne of God. [Ezekiel 28:11-19]. But he was not content with his position and wanted more for self. He wanted to be “on the throne” not just “near the throne”. Thus we find the proclamation, I WILL whereas with Jesus we hear THY WILL not MY WILL. Lucifer was not satisfied to be a creature he wanted to be a creator. Jesus was the creator but willingly became the creature. The Humility of Jesus is a powerful rebuke to the Selfishness of the devil. The devil was not satisfied to be a rebel himself but sought to enlist others thus the scene in the Garden of Eden with Adam & Eve. Adam had all he needed in the Garden and in God. In a very real sense, he was “king” of God’s creation on earth. Satan, advanced the idea, “You shall be as God” and that triggered the selfishness in Adam & Eve and they rebelled. Man deliberately reached for something that was beyond his reach, and as a result plunged the entire race into sin and death. Adam & Eve were thinking only of themselves whereas Jesus always thought of others.
That is a clear picture of Humility and Submissiveness of Mind and a source of Joy unspeakable and full of Glory. I need to add a bit more so we will look more deeply at this subject in the next devotional. God bless you is my prayer and desire!