13/09/2018 - Philippians 2:5 ‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus’
You spot a small rare bird in a tree and want to share your discovery with your friend. You point, you say, ‘a little to the left’, you wait, and finally your friend exclaims, ‘yes, I can see it!’ Perhaps the object is in the far distance. You do everything you can to direct your friend’s gaze to the exact spot. He can scan the horizon as much as he likes but if he isn’t looking in the right direction, he will never see it.
Maybe you have been the one straining your eyes trying to see what is causing the excitement. Try as you might, unless you are focused in the right place, you will never see it. Have you been tempted to say, ‘I see it’ when you don’t, simply because it is embarrassing to not see this thing that is so clear to someone else?
Having the right attitude enables us to look in the right direction. If we don’t have that internal ‘direction-finder’ set at the right angle, then we simply will not understand what someone is trying to explain to us. Nothing will make sense.
In our verse, Paul is saying that there is fixed position that will help us to see everything clearly that we need to see. What is that position? It is the one Jesus had when he came and gave his life for us. It was a humble attitude that had at its core love for his Father and love for us – whatever the cost. That view, that perspective, gave him constant clarity. He saw into people’s hearts, he was never fooled, he was incisive and definite. You knew where you stood with Jesus. You were safe with him.
Be like that to one another, Paul says. The word translated ‘mindset’ is not just about thoughts in our heads but a state of heart, a deep, inner, settled disposition. We only pick that up by walking with God. When we cannot understand something that is being pointed out, let it become an opportunity to reset our inner compass. Someone says something that, as far as we are concerned, cannot possibly be true. Don’t say it doesn’t exist. It might be that it is simply out of our line of vision and we need to adjust. We might be looking completely in the wrong direction but, more often than not, we are so close. That is the frustrating part. You think you are looking where you are meant to be looking but even one degree out is enough to make the truth elusive. An aircraft only has to be one degree out and for every 60 miles it flies it will miss its target by one mile.
May we always have the humility of heart that enables us to set our gaze totally in line with the attitude of Christ Jesus.