The Selfless Love of the Savior

Bible Reading: Philippians 2:1-8

Philippians 2:5-8, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

I love reading biographies and especially missionary biographies. The account of the life of Gladys Aylward is one of my favorites. She was born to a working-class family in London in 1902. Having believed in Jesus, she was determined from an early age to go overseas as a missionary. She applied to the China Inland Mission, only to be turned down because of her inadequate academic background. Undeterred, she saved up funds while working as a housemaid. She spent all that she had on a train passage to China through Siberia. In Siberia, she was forced to get off the train and walk because of a war that was going on. She traveled by train, by boat, by foot and finally made her way—through a long, arduous journey, to China. And when she finally arrived at her destination, the local villagers threw stones at her. Ultimately, she was much used by God to bring the light of the gospel to that very dark place, ministering to travelers, families and to a prison, and leading a large group of orphans to safety amidst a war. She had the mind of Christ.

It’s a long way from London to the remote region of China where Gladys traveled.  And when you think of missionary endeavor in times past, imagine how long and hard it was for people to go to those faraway places.  But no matter how far any of us ever travel, or how hard and difficult our experience in serving Jesus, nothing compares to the missionary journey Jesus took when He left His Father’s throne above and came to this sin-cursed planet to die on a cross from our sins (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Philippians 2:5-8 is all about Jesus’ missionary descent from heaven to earth to die for our sins.

The word translated “mind” in verse 5 means “to think, have an opinion, to be mindful of, be intent on.”  The term speaks of a way of thinking.  It is a present tense imperative, an all-the-time command. That we are commanded to have this attitude means that it is something possible for us to do.  The reason it is possible for us is not because of us.  It is because of what God has done and is doing in us.  The believer is a person who has been born again and thus made to be a new creature in Christ.  One who has been identified with Christ in His death and resurrection that he might walk in newness of life.  One who is indwelt by the Spirit of God, who works within us to mediate the very presence of Christ.  It is possible for us, as believers, because we’ve been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

It is a present tense command.  So, it is a way of thinking by the Spirit that attends our everyday walk in Christ.  It is not something to be turned on and turned off according to a kind of spiritual schizophrenia.  It is the way of thinking that is to characterize our lives 24/7.

Note this about our passage.  We are exhorted to maintain this attitude that was the attitude of Christ.  The passage is saying that we need to maintain a way of thinking that is congruent with that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It speaks of His incarnation, servanthood, and crucifixion, things which all have great relevance to us as believers when it comes to our salvation.  He came as a man.  He came to serve and give His life for sin.  He died on a cross to save us.  But what this text is saying that He is not only our Savior by way of His sacrifice, but He is also our example.  The cross is not just something in which we believe, it also instructs us as to how we are to behave.

That being said, we do the passage a kind of theological disservice if we get bogged down in the theological minutiae that is here.  There are wonderful and important things that are spoken of regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ here in this passage.  Many suppose that this represented an early Christian hymn that was sung in the churches of that day.  And we can see why!  But we need to pay attention to those truths as we consider this incredible truth—we are called to a radically different way of thinking and living, a manner of life that resembles that of the Lord Jesus Himself.    


Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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