Daily Devotion – September 22, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Philippians 2:1-13
2:1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,
2:2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
2:4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
2:8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.
2:9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
2:11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2:12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Verses 5-11 have been known for centuries as The Christ Hymn, a kind of credo that the early church would have recited. Paul is bringing it into his letter to the Philippians knowing that his readers/hearers would know it already. He wants the congregation at Philippi to not be divided and arguing. He wants them to bring their many points of view together and share “the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.”

And what was that mind like? What was it prone to believe and do? Not act all puffed up and equal to God. Instead, being willing to empty out for the sake of another, the way a slave does what he or she knows the master needs to have done, probably better than the master knows.  Being willing to serve another to the point of giving his or her life for the other.

This is the humility of verse 8, humility for the purpose of lifting or freeing another.  As C.S. Lewis puts it, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

That is the mind we as Christians are asked to take up. That is the mentality we should be sharing. That is how our conversation becomes worthy of the Gospel of Christ. That is how we are to be caught by the onlooking world, acting like that!  Emptying ourselves of our need to be right and getting our way. Emptying ourselves in order to serve the other, lift up the overlooked, welcome the poor.

And how does God reward that mind of Christ, that behavior we are to imitate? God exalts those who share this mind of Christ and live it out in the world that God loves.

Paul was exhorting the Philippians to come to terms with their disagreement so as to lift up important ministry that only they could accomplish, so that the world would see them behaving like Christ, for the sake of others. I wonder how the same exhortation applies to us in this very moment.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us the mind of Christ to share with our fellow believers. Help us to remember that humility that is our calling.   Amen.