William Tyndale gave us the word, “likeminded”, but what gives us the reality?
On the internet it’s easy to find “people like us”. No matter how specialist our interests might be, the online world is so large, any subgroup at all can find “likeminded” members.
But what about in the local church? What about in face to face community where people of all ages, races and cultures are called together by the Spirit? How can we find unity there?
That was a big concern for Paul in his letter to the Philippians. There were high profile spats within the congregation and it was affecting the witness of the church. Therefore Paul urges these Christians:
“… be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:2-3)
Notice how important singleness of mind is to Paul. But how will it come about?
Well the answer, as always, is in Jesus. Paul writes in verse 5:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
The mind we are to be like is Christ’s. And what is the mind of Christ? Well in the following verses, Paul either writes or quotes from a stunning hymn that reveals the eternal thought-life of the Son of God:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
You and I did not choose to be born. The eternal Christ did! He made up His mind to take flesh. This is incredible. Because if I ever did have the choice to be born, I would not have chosen what Jesus chose. If I was in the form of God, surrounded by the worship of heaven, in the direct presence of my Father, I would not have chosen the birth, life and death which the Son of God determined for Himself. Jesus chose a life of “no reputation”, of service (slavery even), humility, obedience and death – even the godforsaken death of the cross.
When we see the baby in the manger, it’s like watching a man falling. He has come from the highest heights. And on Christmas morning we see Him heading down, down, down, from heaven to earth, and eventually to hell on that cross.
And all of this happens because Jesus made up His mind to serve. Being in the form of God He has a mind to serve. And – this is crucial to understand – such service was not a departure from the divine glory, it is the very expression of it. The true Godness of God is shown when Christ climbs down off the throne and pours Himself out as a servant. Wriggling in the manger, writhing on the cross – there is the expression of true deity. And when the Father sees His Son pouring Himself out in service…
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Because of the crib and the cross, therefore the Father says “Have the crown!” What is crowned is the self-emptying love of the crib and the cross. The Father vindicates suffering love as the true display of divine glory. He vindicates the suffering Servant as the true LORD of heaven and earth.
And one day everyone will bow the knee to Jesus, the LORD. They will do so because He poured out His life to death.
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12)
One day the whole world will recognise what the Father has declared in exalting Jesus to His right hand: The sacrificial Servant is LORD. Humble, self-abandoning love is enthroned as the very heart-beat of deity. The mind of the Servant is the mind of God.
And so Paul says: “Be likeminded… let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:2,5)
We are a fractious bunch, we humans. But here’s the solution. The Christian has their thinking completely reoriented by the mind of Christ. Humility is greatness, service is glory, but sacrifice is divine. When we really think like that we will esteem each other better than ourselves.
You see the saying from today’s picture is wrong. Or at least it needs recalibrating by the gospel of Christ. But the reality is this: Humble minds think alike.
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