image from the University of Guelph Christian forum
One of the most straightforward passages about the whole concept of having the mind of God is Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” In the New Living Translation it reads, “have the same attitude.”
So, this is a rather compelling reason to examine the attitudes of Jesus. Each of these points needs more coverage than in this introduction, but today I’ll just list a few of the obvious facets of Jesus’ mindset.
The Philippians passage continues that Jesus humbled himself. Humility is certainly one of the attitudes we should seek. The old joke is that as soon as we think we have attained humility, we are no longer humble. Yup.
The next thing Jesus did, after he humbled himself, was to become a servant. We often symbolize Jesus’ servanthood with his washing of the disciple’s feet. In fact, he used that as an object lesson. But, the Philippians reference is to his choosing to give up the rights he had as God the Father’s right hand. He chose to serve humanity in a sweeping servanthood, to “make himself nothing,” that culminated in the cross and resurrection.
Yet, Jesus, although humble was not wishy-washy. In Matthew 7, we are told that after Jesus finished the sermon on the Mount the people were amazed because he spoke with authority. They were apparently used to teachers who didn’t seem to have confidence in what they were saying. We might conclude that when we are certain of being in sync with God’s mind that we can have that confidence too.
Jesus not only referred to himself as “The Truth,” but he unequivocally insisted that the truth mattered. In a long discourse with certain Jews (John 8), he reasoned that even though they were genetically children of Abraham, they were not children of God, or they would recognize who he was. To Jesus, truth matters, not DNA, not friendship, personal gain... just truth. Can we say that?
We are told in Romans that we are to have the same attitude toward other Christians as Jesus had. And that was to accept one another in order to bring praise and glory to God. Sometimes, harmony is a pretty tall order.
Another direct instruction as to taking on Jesus’ attitudes concerns suffering. I Peter 4 says “since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude.” Suffering? That’s not so much fun. We might conceivably accept that the first items on that list would be difficult, but we could hold up our heads in the confidence that we were acting honorably. Suffering isn’t so clear-cut. We may suffer for many reasons, some of them our own fault, and not at all like Jesus’ suffering. Peter says that if we suffer we will put aside sin and learn to live for the will of God. Sounds like a difficult class.
All of these attitudes can be elusive when times get tough. The Romans passage promises that God gives us endurance and encouragement. We’re going to need it.