Summary: God calls us to radically change our mindset, to be like-minded, humble-minded, and Christ-minded. As we follow Jesus, we learn to value others above ourselves and to truly live the way we were meant to live, so a watching world will take note.
Change your Mind!
Sometimes people easily change their mind. I heard about a guy who e-mailed his ex. He said,
My dearest Susan, I’ve been so desolate ever since I broke off our engagement. Simply devastated. Won’t you PLEASE consider coming back to me? You hold a place in my heart no other woman can fill. I could never find another woman quite like you. I need you so much. Won’t you forgive me and let us make a new beginning? I love you so.
P.S. Congratulations on winning the lottery!
Yes, John changed his mind. But other times, it’s not so easy to change our mind, even when it’s good for you. And yet, the truth is, God calls us to a radical change of mind, for our own good and for the good of the church family. Today’s passage contains three ways to change your mind. First, it says,
1. Be like-minded.
Paul begins chapter 2 with a plea. It’s a poetic plea, punctuated with four uses of the word “if”: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion...” Paul knows they have these things, so he really means “since.” “Since you have all of these things...” He continues in verse 2, “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
Paul says we need to be like-minded. Note he DOESN’T say to be “same-minded,” because that would be pretty boring and useless. He says “like-minded,” which means to be united on one purpose. We need to overlook petty differences and agree on the big stuff. And the big stuff here is that we are the body of Christ. We have the same love. We are one in spirit. We are one in mind. What unites us is greater than what divides us.
On a side note, did you know today’s scripture is where you can actually find an automobile mentioned in the Bible? Yes, it’s true. You have to use the King James Version, which tells us to “Be of one Accord!”
OK, seriously, think of the military culture. When you go to boot camp, the drill instructor or training instructor is there to chisel out of you all that background stuff that makes you unique, and instill in you a new group identity. It’s not about you anymore; it’s about your unit, your platoon, your flight. What unites you is greater than anything that might divide you.
And so it is with the church. When you become a believer, you are linked not only to God as his child, but also to brothers and sisters across the globe. You are part of the family. That’s why you can discover a Christian on a cruise ship across the world and immediately find a kinship.
Blue Skies East needs to see a healthy church family, not a dysfunctional family. We need to be a family that first and foremost works hard to get along. We need to overlook the small stuff, to work through conflict, to become quick repenters and quick forgivers, so other residents can see the love of God in the way we treat each other. When that happens, people are drawn to God. As the old song goes, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Paul says, “Be like-minded.” And then he builds on that to say, in verses 3-4,
2. Be humble-minded!
Let me re-read the verses to you. They contain a great definition of humility:
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
You see, true humility doesn’t think less of yourself. True humility simply thinks of yourself ... less. You have less time for selfies, for personal updates in social media, for hair appointments or mirror glances, less time for plotting how to get your way. Why? Because you are busy serving others. It’s not that you become a doormat, to be used and abused, with no life of your own. It’s simply that you learn to value others before yourself. You live by the acronym JOY: Jesus, Others, and then You.
This is a familiar theme throughout the New Testament: Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Galatians 5:13 – “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Ephesians 5:21 – “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” And 1 Peter 5:5 – “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”