So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 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, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:1–13)
Christ encourages and comforts me, partners me with His Spirit, and give me affection and empathy, even His very mind. It should be no trouble then to think His thoughts and have His attitude toward others. He asks that I love them, live in harmony with them, and leave selfish ambition and conceit aside in favor of thinking more about them than about myself.
With a small nudge from His elbow, He tells me I don’t abandon the responsibilities He gives me, but put others above myself and abandon that “I’m my own boss” attitude. Instead, because His mind is in me, He tells me to think with it, a much better mind that mine with is polluted with sin.
I react. I’m not so bad. I’m not as bad as so-and-so, but He stands and waits until I must admit that no matter what measure I use, His is the measure that counts. He died for that mind of mine.
Now that I have His mind, He looks for His same humility, even the humility that never grasps for any rights but is willing to give them all up if that is what He asks of me. Like Jesus, I am to be willing to die rather than disobey God or let others suffer.
I can hear voices saying, “But what is in it for me?” but that is not the voice of Jesus, but the voice of faithless selfishness. The voice of Jesus reminds me that His exaltation comes after His sacrifice, and one day, every living thing will acknowledge that He is Lord to the glory of God.
I can hear the voice of my friend Rick saying, “Suck it up, Princess” and the voice of my mother saying, “You will never be truly happy until you are taking care of the needs of others.
And Jesus says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”