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Friday, May 13, 2016


Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, "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." (Phil 2:1-2) Seems pretty straightforward, right? "I want you all to have the very same thoughts." Is that what he meant?

If you were to look at the Greek, you might conclude it is. He refers to "one mind", which could literally be translated "one sentiment or opinion". In a vacuum, I suppose that would be fine, except we don't have a vacuum; we have context. You see, Paul doesn't simply say, "Think alike." He includes "the same love" and "in full accord", and he says what mind to share. I mean, it's not like Paul is saying, "Here's what I want you to do. Get together and have a vote and decide which mind you'll all have." No, he tells them which mind.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:5)
Yes, like that mind. The mind of Christ.

This mind is not the standard thinking of the world. It is, in fact, diametrically opposed. While the world stands on "looking out for #1", the mind of Christ is without "selfish ambition or conceit" (Phil 2:3). Instead, it counts others more significant than itself (Phil 2:3). While it is not possible to not look out for your own interests, this mind looks out for the interests of others as well (Phil 2:4). This "mind of Christ" is emptied of self (Phil 2:7) rather than full of self.

In what sense did Paul want them (and, by implication, us) to be like-minded? We ought to be considering others as more important than self as characterized by love. We ought to be less interested in self and more like Christ. Think alike? Not what he had in mind. Think in the same direction? More like that. Have the mind of Christ.

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