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. . .
— Philippians 2:5-11
— Philippians 2:5-11
Paul’s poetic hymn to Christ in his letter to the Church in Philippi challenges us to “let the same mind” be in us that was in Jesus. What I believe he means is more than just intellectual assent. We’re the ones who divide the mind from the heart, after all, not Jesus! Paul must mean, then, by “mind” the whole of the inner life: thought, reason and love; will, commitment and prayer.
So that’s all well and good, but how do we go about it?
Acquiring a humility like Jesus’ takes most of us a lifetime of hard knocks and tough places combined with the beauty, joys, and tenderness that each of us have experienced. In all of these life lessons, we can uncover our true selves that God made. The challenge, then, is only in giving ourselves over to these experiences just as Jesus did. A few of us may even risk physical death in the process. All of us will risk the death of what we have held most dear other than God, whether we have clung too closely to what we own or particular people in our lives or even our most cherished idea of ourselves.
In the Resurrection, Jesus shows us the path to complete renewal from the inside out, of a death and rising again that discloses new, unexpected life in new and unexpected ways. Jesus’ commitment to this renewing death-and-life process may well be what Paul meant by the “mind of Christ.”
It’s this mindfulness – to borrow a word from another spiritual tradition – that we practice through prayer and sacrament, in the gathering of community of the baptized, and in our service to others both at home and in the wider community.