When Jesus tells us to have a certain mindset, that means there’s hope that we CAN choose a certain mindset!
Philippians 2:3-5 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
The very first thing that leaps to my attention in this passage is the presumption that we are able to control the type of mind we have.
It’s an amazing statement.
From what I’ve seen, most people assume their mindset determines them rather than the other way around.
But it’s clear that WE EACH are responsible to determine our own mindset.
Next I see an encouragement toward a particular mindset: that of humility.
If it seems amazing that a person can choose their mindset in the first place, this is the point where all believability is lost.
Not only are we to choose our mindset, the one we are instructed to choose appears to be the opposite of what most of us would want. We would opt for confidence, strength, and assertiveness as our preferred attitudes of mind. But we’re commanded to seek humility instead.
It doesn’t compute.
The reason it doesn’t compute is that we misunderstand humility.
Rather than being ” in it for ourselves,” humility aims us at the service and blessing of others.
That can, and I’d argue should be done, with assertiveness, strength, and confidence.
Assertiveness, strength, and confidence are the characteristics of “how” we serve others, not the service itself. The attitude of service (the mindset) must come first.
- IT is what fuels assertiveness and initiative.
- IT is what provides confidence and the willingness to risk for the sake of others.
- IT is the mindset of humility.
True, Jesus-like humility is to understand that the core of who you are is a servant, first of God, then as an agent of His love, to mankind.
THAT is a defining part of your identity, and identity is the ultimate source of mindset.
When we are truly convinced of that (which Paul says is our responsibility – “have this mind”) we are then able to do our service, in whatever form we’ve been appointed and gifted to give it, with the assertiveness, strength, and confidence we first considered so important.
Finally I see in this passage that we have been given this “servant identity” through our union with Jesus…
” which is yours in Christ Jesus… ”
We don’t figure out our identity.
We don’t come up with or choose our preferred mindset.
We accept the one Jesus has provided for us.
So when Paul says, “Have this mind among yourselves,” he’s telling us to understand, accept, embrace, and live out of our servant identity.
THAT is the only way in which we choose our mindset… will we take up and live out the mindset of a servant ?