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3/2/16: God expects Believers to think like Christ

Published: Wednesday, 02 March 2016 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.   Philippians 2:2-5

These verses are a great summary of the “Christ-like life” that dominates the New Testament.  There are repeated themes throughout the New Testament such as “being like-minded”, “same love”, “one in spirit”, and “of one mind”.  You can easily see that these short phrases used the concept of “oneness”.  God intended for all Believers to be of “oneness”.  There was to be no disunity in the body of Believers.  We all are to work toward unity and remove any dysfunctional items from the church.

The verses go on to define what being dysfunctional means.  The first item is to do nothing out of selfish ambition.  You can find this happening when there is a job in the church that is considered greater than other jobs.  As human beings, there will be things said and done to obtain that job that will result in disunity.  The reason for this disunity is that only one person in a group can have selfish ambition.  Otherwise, there is discord, arguments, and, possibly, broken relationships in the church.  This happens all too frequently in today’s churches. 

 

Another item that produces a dysfunctional body of Believers is vain conceit.  This is not the same as selfish ambition.  The word vain means, “empty”.  There is nothing there.  There is no supporting evidence.  The word conceit means to be excessively proud of oneself.  In a worldly sense, you can be proud of a great many things.  When it comes to spiritual things, you destroy the work of the Holy Spirit when you leave Him out of your explanation for why you are so proud.  The Holy Spirit is the only source of power for performing spiritual work.  At the same time, the Spirit does this work through you, but you have nothing to be proud of.

The verses continue with a statement that is very difficult to accept if you are living under a worldly philosophy.  You are to value all others as greater than you.  All Christians need to work on this attitude.  It is so easy to compare yourself to someone else to obtain a “fix” for feeling good about yourself.  God hates for you to feel good about yourself at the expense of others.  Jesus said that if anyone wanted to be like him that person must deny themselves in all things on a daily basis (Luke 9:23). 

The exact opposite is stated in the verses above.  You are not to look at your own interest, but look on the interests of others.  This is putting others first.  You are positioning yourself to be able to serve others.  Jesus said that all of his commands are summarized into two: 1) Love God, and 2) serve others.  You are not in the picture, because God says that He will take care of you while you love Him and serve others. 

Finally, Paul summarizes all of the previous statements by saying, “in your relationships with others, have the mindset of Christ.”  Jesus thought it was not beneath Him to die on the cross for your sins, even though He was innocent, and you are guilty.  This is the sacrifice we make of ourselves for others if we are to live in “oneness” with others.

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