During Holy Week we spend seven days walking the way of Jesus. Not only do we retrace the places where he walked, we try to imitate his humble way of taking those steps. Paul hands us traveling instructions as we begin. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. He continues, 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 (vv. 3, 5-6).
I majored in psychology, the scientific study of the human mind and those thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that make us tick. In the years since graduation, I remain fascinated by human behavior, though by no means have I figured it out. Some days, I don’t even understand what I do!
Like Jesus, though, we have a choice. We can let our thinking be inundated with self-important, self-serving ideas. Or, we can let the mind that was in Christ Jesus shape the mind that is in us. Jesus had power and privilege, but though he was in the form of God, he chose to empty himself for others. Paul challenges us to mirror this mindset: Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others (v. 4).
We’ve seen what a mindset of unchecked power and privilege does to our communities. Having the mind of Christ means no longer being motivated by selfish ambition. Humility means thinking like Jesus did. If we cannot empty ourselves of self-centeredness, how can God fill us with what the world needs? When our purpose becomes noticing the unseen and advocating for those never heard, we’ll know the joy of living in Christ’s love and compassion.
This week, notice what feelings and thoughts motivate you to do what you do. Ask for God’s help to overcome selfish ambition.
Holy God, may the mind that was in Christ Jesus shape the mind that is in me. Amen.