Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
Thus begins this wonderful chapter about the nature and character of Jesus. Jesus shares the same nature with God, but did not allow it to be used for his own advantage. He made himself nothing, becoming a servant, humbled himself and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. He is exalted, because God has given him the name above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess the Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.
We are privileged to be united with Christ by the grace of God. We have been given access to the Father through the Holy Spirit, enabling us to take on some of the qualities of Jesus. Paul asks us to find encouragement from Jesus; be comforted by his love.
Some days we are filled with tenderness and compassion for our neighbor, but other days not so much. It is not so easy getting rid of selfish ambition and vain conceit. It is counter to our nature to value others above ourselves, to deny self and look to the interests of others. It takes a complete attitude reversal to slough off our self-centeredness and put on the mindset of Jesus. In this lifetime we will not be fully able to complete this process of becoming like Jesus, because we are imperfect beings. But it’s where we hope to go, as day by day we seek to be united with Christ.
This day, Lord, remind us again of your great love for us, and your great desire that we should become more tender and compassionate, more self-less and caring for the interests of others. When we are tempted to think only of ourselves, help us stop and try again. Help us walk in ways as Jesus would, to the glory of your name. Amen.