>5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Imitation is supposedly a form of flattery. Men unacquainted in any real sense shake hands with mentors through the ages to formulate their leadership styles, family structures, company visions, and poetic endeavors. There is a sense of humility in the action because it leans to the notion that the one who emulates has not figured it all out…yet. They have to lean to others persona as a guide or maxim. Yet even with that humility there is at least some thought, perhaps only in the recesses of the mind that the one who emulates will say ‘I will exceed what they did.’
When Paul sends the message forward to all ages that there is a model that is better than others. Better because the model is not really just a model at all. Models are to be copied; they are taken for what they are. And by your own power you duplicate the exact same actions. Like some recipe in which you simply following the ingredients down to last egg will produce the best pound cake. Not so with this model. The model of Jesus is one which does not require emulation alone. Anyone who wrestles with vs. 5 in Philippians 2:5-11 will agree. Furthermore if the context and the grammar is taken correctly as with the majority of the NT it shouts corporate body: You all think this thing among you, which indeed is in Christ Jesus. What good is it for only some of us to have the attitude of Christ if we are not corporately working towards the goal?
The moment Paul admonishes the reader to ‘have this attitude which is in Christ’ we approach a new sense of humility. One that opens us to our complete destitution and as what the theologian Augustine called our ‘navel-gazing.’ When we gaze at the attitude of Jesus, we have to look away from our own or each other’s attitudes. We are to gaze into our own thinking no more. For to see Jesus’ thinking, His compassion and care, His manner and motive and to embrace His mind in all its glory and then to look back to our own thinking with the same vigor and care will produce a compromise which demonstrates a ‘skoping out your own interests but looking to the interests of others.’ To have the mind of Jesus is to have all of His Lordship. I am not satisfied with His taking my sins away alone, I am willing to embrace that He is Lord over our thinking too.
Humility is the result of having the same mind as Christ because we know we have never really thought well about anything. In our own attempts to care for others we fall short by either providing what is not needed or not enough of what is needed. When we do provide what is necessary, pride is a co-laborer in the effort. Humility itself in our thinking is taken advantage of: self-abasement for the purpose of the appearance of self-abasement which leads to notoriety. When we approach His thinking and realize we can never think on our own and thus never do correctly we find the need for confession as clear the need to confess in Romans 10:9.
Perhaps it is a stretch but there is a reward in the same admonition. There is no demand made that is not expected to be reached in some level. The reward is WE together get to think rightly. What thinking is better than the creators? What perceptions on life are clearer than the one who breathed into it? Whose model is better to follow than the one who in Him we live and move, and likewise He lives in us?
In Jesus we find the answer and resolve to the sin issue, and approach the balance to the call to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.’ It is His thinking that we can embrace as much as His shed blood on Calvary for sin. The question then is what is the thinking of Jesus?
TO BE CONTINUED