“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5a NRSV
Being like-minded got me in trouble once. When I was about ten years old, my best friend at the time was several years older than me. He was in middle school and I was in fifth grade. Several of his friends had tried smoking cigarettes and he wanted to do the same. In order to do this, he needed to get some cigarettes. At thirteen he could not buy them, so he made plans to go to the local megastore and steal a pack of cigarettes. He asked me to be his accomplice. Foolishly, I agreed. We walked a couple of miles to the store and discussed the plan along the way. I was going to be his lookout and if anyone came near I was to give a signal so he could stop what he was doing. We decided the signal would be a whistle. I practiced the whistle on the way to the store. As we entered the store he went straight to the area where the cigarettes were located. [This was 1975 and cigarettes were still out in the aisles with everything else.] He grabbed a pack of cigarettes and walked to the nearest aisle to kneel down and put the pack in his sock. As soon as he bent down, someone came down the aisle. I sincerely tried to whistle, but I was so nervous no sound came out. The person walking down the aisle was a store manager who saw my friend putting the pack of cigarettes in his sock. The manager asked my friend to the store office and called the police. I promptly took off and ran the whole way home. Being like-minded can get you in trouble.
We sometimes hear about getting like-minded folks together to accomplish a goal. This is an example of something good that can come out of being like-minded. When people decided that they can come together and provide clean drinking water in underdeveloped countries—that’s a good example of like-mindedness. When people decide that they can come together and clean up plastic waste from the world’s oceans—that’s a good example of like-mindedness. Being like-minded can be a very good thing or a very bad thing. There have also been like-minded people throughout the history of humanity who have done some absolutely horrible things. The question is what type of like-minded behavior are we living out? We have the opportunity to do exceptional good or horrible bad through like-minded efforts. What will it be?
Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi to encourage them to be like-minded. The purpose of their like-mindedness was to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul did not want them to be like-minded with each other’s minds. Paul wanted them to be like-minded in a different way. He wanted them to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. He wrote, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” The importance of this statement is emphasized by what follows. Jesus showed incredible humility, sacrifice, obedience, and endurance. Jesus was able to do this because of his willingness to submit to the will of the Father in all things. In other words, Jesus, the Son, had the same mind as God, the Father. So, Paul calls the church at Philippi to submit to the will of God [The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit]. This kind of like-mindedness has changed the course of human history. It still has the power to change the course of our story.
How in tune with the mind that is in Jesus are you? We gain this like-minded position through the study of Scripture, the power of prayer, engaging in worship, and following the will of God in all things. Are we willing to put Jesus first in all things? To have the mind of Christ we must submit to the same sacrifice that Jesus made. We can be like-minded with Jesus if we will put others first, sacrifice for others out of love, and seek to see the will of God accomplished in all things. This is the best possible example of good coming from being like-minded. May we all be like-minded in letting the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.
This Sunday we begin a new message series entitled “Grateful.” We will explore the different ways we should be Grateful in our life and faith. This Sunday we will discuss what it means to be Grateful for Jesus. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!