Having the Mind of Christ

Those of you who know me will know that I’ve had the blessing of growing up in a Christian environment. I have many fond memories of attending Scripture Union camps in the late 1990s. During one such camp, I remember hearing the phrase ‘DWJWD’, an acronym for ‘Do What Jesus Would Do’. It became a popular catchphrase among attendees of the camp. Years later, I find myself reflecting on this and asking myself: ‘What would Jesus have us do?’ Thankfully, scripture doesn’t leave us uninformed.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul exhorts them to ‘look not only to their own interests, but also to the interest of others’ (v4). He further explains that as Christians, we are to ‘have this mind amongst ourselves which is ours in Christ Jesus’ (2:5). And in the proceeding verses of 6-11, we have one of the great passages of Scripture, where Paul expounds on the example of Jesus and his work on the cross: (paraphrasing) ‘Though Christ Jesus was in very nature God… he emptied himself of all the accompanying rights which came as being God, and instead, he took the mode of existence of a servant… having no rights, he was obedient to God, even to the point of death on the cross [to be a propitiation for sinners].’

Christ’s example on the cross informs us on what it means to have the mind of Christ: it calls us to look to the interest of others. Looking to the interest of others must be one of the defining characteristics of a Christian, because it is at the heart of the gospel – Christ died on the cross in the interest of sinful, rebellious people.

How can we practice this in church? How can we look to the interest of others? Philippians 2:1-3 sheds some light: ‘So 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. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.’

Paul appeals to our experience as Christians, and his argument is simple: if you have experienced a number of these Christian blessings, then there is an entailment — you must also act in such a manner. You must recognise that a great deal of that experience has come about because other Christians, motivated by the gospel, have mediated God’s grace to you – and now, being a partner in that same gospel, being of one mind, you owe the same to others. Count others more significant than yourself, invest your time and effort in ministering to others. Pauls point to the church in Philippi is that they have not been called only to enjoy the comforts of the gospel, but also to pass them on to others. If we do likewise, we practice what it means to look to the interest of others.

Is there anyone hurting in church? Is there anyone in our midst in need of guidance? Is there anyone in need of encouragement? Have the mind of Christ, count them more significant than yourself and minister to them. Surely in one way or other, someone in Hermon has ministered to us before, be it over the pulpit, during Sunday School or in one-to-one meetings. I’ve personally been a recipient of much love and affection in Hermon, and in more ways than one, others in Hermon have ministered to me, playing an important role in my spiritual formation. Paul’s call and the gospel compel me to go do likewise and minister to others in Hermon. To do so, I need to look to the interest of others, ahead of my own interest. In light of the cross and Christ’s example, this is not some monumental sacrifice – it is the privilege of serving Jesus, ‘to deny myself and take up my cross and follow him’ (Mark 8:34).

Church in Hermon, let each of us look not only to our own interests, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves. Let us be of one mind, having the mind of Christ. May we all be not only a recipient of God’s multitude of graces, but also a minister of God’s grace to each other. 

Tan Jiahan