From the Well - 7/11/2019

Mind of Christ.jpg

Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Anyone who works with computers or owns any kind of computerized device is familiar with the term “Default Setting.” Modern television sets (monitors), computers, radios, cameras, smartphones, and even most new cars have a default setting on their computer. After you start using your device, you might decide to change some of the default settings in order to personalize your computer or device.

There were no fancy electronic devices or computers in Paul’s day, but Paul seemed to know about default settings, Human default settings. After learning of a disagreement among the Philippian Christians, he wrote urging them to come to a cordial and peaceful settlement of their differences: "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus . . ." In other words, your default should always be the mind of Christ.

Paul also writes about power and its negative effect. Power too often causes us to forget that our default needs to be the mind of Christ-love, unity, community, and humbleness. You may remember Muhammad Ali’s solipsistic rant after his defeat of Sonny Liston in February 1964:

I knew I had him in the first round. Almighty God was with me. I want everyone to bear witness, I am the greatest! I’m the greatest thing that ever lived. I don’t have a mark on my face, and I upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned twenty-two years old. I must be the greatest. I showed the world. I talk to God every day. I know the real God. I shook up the world, I’m the king of the world. You must listen to me. I am the greatest! I can’t be beat! [1]

It is said that sometime after the famous fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, Ali boarded a plane and promptly resisted the instructions from the flight attendant. The attendant asked Ali to buckle his seat-belt. Ali responded that “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The flight attendant, without missing a beat, replied, “Superman don’t need no airplane either. Buckle up.” It is said that Ali swallowed his pride and buckled up. A little humbleness reminds us that we are not divine, we are not a God.

Christ knew who He was and what it was that He was supposed to do. Humility comes when you know who you are and empty yourself of all that prevents you from being what God created you to be. We become who we are supposed to be when we empty ourselves of power for power's sake, when we empty ourselves of needing to have our own way, when we empty ourselves of self-centeredness, when we empty ourselves of self-hatred and hatred for those who disagree with us or who are not like us. Humility begins when we know ourselves not as doormats but children of God. Humility is having the mind of Christ in all things. Think about it.


[1] Accessed on 12/11/2017.