The Mind of Christ in Relationships
Do you ever wish you had better relationships? The Bible is full of “how to’s” for better relationships, yet we find ourselves doing things our own way over and over. We go rogue because it seems safer. We think, “if only the other person would change”. We mistakenly think our behavior is dependent on another person.
This passage is awesome because it takes the keys to better relationships and puts them in your hands and places you in the driver’s seat. You have the opportunity to improve any relationship right now.
This passage in Philippians is unique in that it outlines the 3 keys to achieving the mind of Christ in relationships. It actually says, “In your relationships…have the same mindset of Christ”. So what are these keys? Let’s see…
“Therefore 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, (2)then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. (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. (5) In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; (7) rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” ~Philippians 2:1-8
Three Keys to the Mind of Christ in Relationships
1.Don’t take advantage.
- Jesus did not take advantage of the fact that He was equal to God (Philippians 2:6)
- Advantage defined: Being in a circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.
- Opposite: Whenever we take advantage of a situation, we are seeking our own gain. Taking advantage is completely self-serving.
2.Put the interest of others before your own interests.
- Jesus took on the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2:7).
- Servant defined: giving yourself over to another’s will. Devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.
- Opposite: Superior in attitude, seeking your own will or interests before others.
3. Approach relationships humbly.
- He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:8).
- Humility defined: Freedom from pride or arrogance: A modest view of one’s own importance.
- Opposite: Prideful in attitude and heart, thinking higher of yourself than you ought.
Paul outlines some do’s and don’ts before offering the three keys.
- Be like minded, having the same love.
- Be one in spirit and of one mind.
- Value others above yourself.
- Look to the interests of others.
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
- Don’t look to your own interests list.
In order to accomplish these do’s and don’ts we have to live out the three keys. Without living out these three keys we have strife and division. With the 3 keys, we have peace and joy in our relationships.
A Biblical Example of the Opposite of Relating with the Mind of Christ
The best example of living out the opposite of the mind of Christ in relationships would be the Pharisees. The Pharisees were religious leaders that had gained power and wealth by taking advantage of their position. In Matthew 23, Jesus powerfully confronts the Pharisees and their prideful, self-serving hearts. He referred to them as:
- Blind guides (v.16)
- Fools (v.17)
- Full of dead men’s bones / uncleanness (v. 27)
- Serpents (v. 33)
- Vipers (v. 33)
- Hypocrites (v.13,15)
I’m no rocket scientist, but if Jesus models one way of relating and condemns the opposite, then living out the three keys in our relationships as He demonstrated, is part of our calling.
So now that we know the three keys to having the mind of Christ in relationships, let’s talk about what it means for our own lives.
Applying the Mind of Christ
While I was studying this passage over several days, I couldn’t help, but see how frequently I fall short. This is a high calling that can not be done in our own strength, but only by grace.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9
Humbly serving others is not what I would choose apart from Christ. Yet it’s a part of my calling and purpose.
The kicker is, living out the mindset of Christ in relationships is even more challenging the closer the relationship is. See, living this out toward a stranger is like a short sprint. But doing this with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers is more like a marathon. It takes endurance.
The payoff is eternal. Neighbors and coworkers are literally seeing the light of Christ shining through you. Modeling Christ-likeness with family is leaving a legacy. We are handing down awesome patterns of relating that will make their future relationships flourish, while glorifying God. Our children will take the skills into their marriages and leave a legacy to their own children one day. Know this… People will remember how you treat them.
So how do we get the mind of Christ?
We need a paradigm shift! A paradigm shift is that moment in time when the usual and accepted way of thinking about something changes. As a result everything changes about how we approach life. Imagine a complete shift in the way we think about our everyday life and relationships. That is exactly what happens when we set our hearts and minds on the things above.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” ~Colossians 3:1-2
What would happen if we kept our eyes vertical instead of horizontal? It would change everything. My motives would no longer be driven by my desires, but would be driven to glorify God. The result? A life marked by courage, joy, peace, security, confidence in our identity as children of God. I want more of that!
But it means we have to step out in faith. We have to trust the very words of God and stop trusting what we see. I have to depend on Him in prayer rather than blazing my own trail.
At first glance this may seem impossible. That’s what the enemy wants you to believe. He wants you to give up before you begin. But if God’s Word calls us to do something, you can trust He’s equipped you for it as well (2 Peter 1:3). I want a life marked by this paradigm shift… Don’t you?
The Mind of Christ Takeaway
Jesus models the mindset we are to have in our relationships. This mindset includes not taking advantage of the situation and maintaining a humble heart while serving others. This is a tall order, and especially challenging in our closest relationships. But we are always equipped to do what we are called to!
In order to take on the mind of Christ we need a paradigm shift, a new focus, fixing our eyes firmly on Christ. Are you ready to step out in faith, trusting the very words of God rather than what you see?