By Brock Bondurant
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
As we put off the old self and step into our new identity in Christ, the Ephesians 4 passage encourages us to be renewed in the spirit of your minds (v. 23). What will my mind be renewed to? Well, this renewal of the mind theme is addressed frequently by the New Testament writer Paul (author of all Scripture in this post). He likes to call it “the mind of Christ.”
As we are transformed into Christlikeness, we “put on” the mind of Christ. In Colossians 3:9-14, Paul describes several attributes of the mind of Christ that we gain through the new self. Of all the qualities on this list, Paul frequently likes to key in on Christ’s humility.
Philippians 2:3-8 – 3…but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Think of that humility: the God of the Universe coming down to be one of the creatures he created, putting his divine privileges to the side, and dying a brutal death for those he came to save. And when given the chance to describe himself Jesus chooses to identify as gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29) – humble. If we are to become like him we must become humble.
Let’s then focus this week on that one attribute: humility. Now being humble does not mean to think less of yourself, but to simply think of yourself less. But we have to pursue genuine humility; not the type of humility that we pretend in order to coerce others into liking or serving us; not the fake humility that talks yourself down every time someone gives you a compliment. Real genuine humility. In his book “The Possibility of Prayer”, John Starke suggests that genuine humility is primarily developed through humiliation.
I myself find that to be unfortunately true. For me, humiliation has come from my own broken sinfulness – failing to uphold the standard of Christ – and also from being rejected by the world for how I look, act, or believe. Humiliation is more than being embarrassed, but simply being made an object of judgement or mockery. Take Christ on the cross: hung up on a tree, naked and mutilated, made an object of judgement in order that we may walk freely in faith – mocked until his final breath. His mindset? Not my will, but yours, be done (Luke 22:42).
So today, are we willing to be humiliated – set apart as an object of scorn in order to follow the Spirit’s leading in the pursuit of Christ? What does it look like to take up our cross today? How may we count others as more significant than ourselves? Ask the Spirit to help you see, to help you hear. And move forward in faithful obedience.
In our sinful state becoming like Jesus is unnatural, bearing our cross difficult, but take heart. As Paul says, But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). In Him we are renewed.