Summary: Our attitudes flow from our minds - so our mindset is critically important.
“”Living a Joy-full Life: Develop A Healthy Attitude”
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale once walked by a tattoo parlor in Hong Kong. In the shop window there was a display of decorations that could be imprinted on one’s skin – flags, patriotic slogans, anchors, daggers, skulls, cross-bones and mermaids. There was one, however, which caught his eye. It was the somber phrase: “Born to Lose.” Being curious, he went into the shop and found the proprietor spoke a little English. He asked if people really did have that message permanently imprinted on themselves. Yes, was the answer, and in fact the last customer who wanted it had it emblazoned across his chest. Dr. Peale asked, “Why on earth would anyone want to be branded with a gloomy slogan like that?” The old Chinese man shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Before tattoo on chest, tattoo already on mind.” (i)
Our attitudes flow from what is in our minds; our mindset is critically important. So once Paul exhorted the Philippians to strive for unity he moved on to instruct them how to develop the right mindset for doing so. (5) “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” JESUS’ MIND IS TO BE OUR MIND. As John Henry Jowett pointed out, “When we have the mind of anybody we share the very springs of their being…(we) have their way of feeling, their way of doing things. It is to be like them in the pattern-chamber of the life, where conduct is originally fashioned, and where all the outside issues are finally determined.” To think like Jesus, to see like Jesus, will put Jesus into the pattern chamber of our lives.
And what will that look like? First, WE WILL BE SELFLESS. (6) “Jesus…who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing…” Jesus was co-equal with God. He was not a junior partner or an assistant; he was co-equal. Jesus was the Creator of the world; “For by him all things were created…All things were created by him and for him.” (Col 1:16) As co-equal and creator Jesus was all powerful, full of and surrounded by divine glory. He was worshiped and adored by all creation. But Jesus did not cling tightly to being equal with God. Jesus set aside his position of glory and possession of power; He refused to clutch it. He stepped down. HE RESIGNED HIS POSITION AND LET GO OF HIS POWER.
But that was just the beginning. Jesus stepped down further: (7) “…but made himself nothing…being made in human likeness…” JESUS EMPTIED HIMSELF of his divine trappings and all desire and personal ambition, and took on the appearance and likeness of a human. He was born in human flesh; and he was not born as a king in a palace but as a baby in a manger, and not into a royal family but to a carpenter, and not to a married couple but to a virgin. ”The Son of man came…to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45)
Think about it – Jesus gave up glory, riches, authority, status, and power – for your sake! As someone put it, “The only person in the world who had the right to assert his rights waived them.” (ii) He waived them because He loves you. It’s what love does – it sacrifices self for the sake of the beloved. As Paul reminded the Corinthians (2 Cor. 8:9) “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Mother Theresa once travelled to Washington DC – but not to the Capitol building or White House. She went, instead, to the Anacostia section – a ghetto of hunger, war, crime, rugs, and hopelessness. She didn’t speak to a joint session of Congress, hold a press conference, or speak at one of the great cathedrals. Instead she went to a troubled and neglected corner of the city to establish an outpost for nine of her Sisters of Charity. Since she did not go to the power brokers they came to her with press and media in tow. “What do you hope to accomplish here?” someone shouted. She replied, “The joy of loving and being loved.” Another reporter pressed her, “That takes a lot of money, doesn’t it?” Mother Theresa shook her head. “No, IT TAKES A LOT OF SACRIFICE.” (iii)
How willing are you to sacrificially empty yourself? To let go of glory, riches, authority, status, or power? To become poor so others can become rich? To stoop down so others can step up? To have Jesus’ mindset is to be selfless.