The daily struggle to grow like Jesus typically begins between our ears. It’s strange how that finite space at times can seem totally empty while at other times feeling overwhelmingly cluttered. But if we want to grow “in favor with man,” as Luke 2:52 advises, then we have to free ourselves of both the clutter and the emptiness. We have to adopt the mindset of Jesus.
Philippians 2:5-8 lays it out for us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
First of all, Paul is applying this to human relationships. So while it’s also important to have the mindset of Christ in our relationship with the Father, Paul’s advice in this passage is about getting along with people.
Here’s what I unpack from these verses about my mindset when building relationships:
Be humble, not self-righteous.
If anyone had a right to be self-righteous, it was Jesus. He was and is fully righteous. But He lived with a humble spirit that invited others into His life and His heart.
The humble spirit of Jesus gave Him the “nature of a servant.” He took care of the needs of people. He didn’t ask, “What’s in it for me?” He didn’t say, “I’ll help you after you stop sinning.” He didn’t demand the gratitude He deserved. He served out of love, sacrificing Himself for the needs of the world.
Be obedient to God.
Love calls us to service and service requires sacrifice. It’s easy to serve others when we don’t have to go out of our way or give up anything of value. But God often calls us to step out of our comfort zones, especially when dealing with other broken people. Jesus loved the Father and loved us so completely that He was “obedient to death.” Will we be obedient in life?
If our mindset is steeped in humility and reflects service to others and obedience to God that are rooted in love, then we’re on the right track to toward building relationships with “the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”