Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Renewal: Imitating Christ
Devin Abraham

 St Johns MTC, Queens NY 

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is known as the epistle of Christian joy.  The first part of today’s passage verses 1-4, stresses unity and humility, and verses 5-11, the condescension of Christ.


Depicted in verses 3-4, which indicated exactly what is asked of us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of others”. Selflessness, humility and valuing the interest of others are the attitudes essential in order to maintain the unity that God seeks to establish through the Holy Spirit. Projecting and establishing oneself, devaluing and disregarding others and having the least concern about the interest and wellbeing of others, disrupts any attempted unity. In the world we live in today, especially with the pursuit of the “ American Dream”, have we not become self-centred, only thinking about ourselves? We are sometimes blinded by the grey area in which we believe what we are doing is God’s will, but a deeper introspection however reveals that we are living our own personal agenda? Paul says that putting others ahead of ourselves, and putting their interests ahead of our own, is the only way to truly live a Christian life. As a person, family, Church and community, we need to have a retrospection of our own life to see how far we are able to maintain the unity by seeing others above us. We, as the body of Christ, should value, accept and accommodate others so that we imitate Christ in our lives.

Verses 5 -7 goes on to show how we should portray our lives after Christ. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Three times Paul stresses that the followers of Jesus should be of the same mind, meaning not that we agree on every single thing, but that we have the same mindset, the same attitude, the same approach to life and that is the mindset, attitude, and approach that was in Christ Jesus. We must live life through the service of others, using every opportunity to help one another, as the best way to find our self is through the service of others. Take the local NYC Mission Project, where people  selflessly, out of their conviction and concern for the needy,  set apart their time, energy and resources so that the world experiences the loving presence of Christ.

In Philippians 2, Jesus is presented as loving, obedient, self-sacrificing, and humble. This is the mind we are to have as Jesus’ followers. The necessity of believers being of one mind or the same mind is so important to Paul that he mentions it in every chapter of Philippians. In 1:27, “Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel.” We are tempted each day, left and right, obstacles upon obstacles, set up to bring us down, but how will we overcome these temptations? God not only exemplifies how we should lead our lives, but gives us the model to follow.


Lord, help us to understand that we were put on this earth, not to be served, but to serve. Help us to centre our lives in Christ, allowing us to be more like Him. Forgive us if we have sinned against You and strengthen us to do Thy will.
“Our greatest fulfilment lies in giving ourselves to others.” Henri J.M. Nouwen 

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