“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). How Paul describes his identity in this passage is to be true of all Christians. Christ is “our life” just as he was Paul’s (Col. 3:4). Such a life involves taking on the mind of Christ–learning to think like Him. That is why Paul commands in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” How can we develop His mind?
First, we must forget our privileges (Phil. 2:5- 8). Jesus, who is God by nature, became man in the flesh and subjected Himself to the physical weaknesses of humanity (John 1:14). Additionally, He willingly left the glory of heaven to be a servant (Mark 10:45; John 13:15-17), and made himself of no reputation (Ps. 22:6). Even more importantly, Jesus humbled Himself and came as a sacrifice, a total act of selflessness for us. Therefore, our Lord emptied Him of His privileges, and He expects the same of us (Rom. 12:1-3).
Secondly, we must have eternal vision (Phil. 2:9-11). Our Lord did not only see Himself in the “here and now,” He saw Himself in glory after enduring everything He would suffer. For this reason, the author of Hebrews said concerning Christ, “… who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Our Redeemer was not shortsighted. He had the eternal purpose of God in mind. We must keep eternity in mind as well. Short-sightedness will cause us to stumble (1 Pet. 1:5-10)!
Finally, we must remain true to our commitment (Phil. 2:12-13). Our Savior was continually dedicated to His duty (Luke 9:51). In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “Lord if this cup can pass from me, let it, but not my will, but your will” (Matt. 26:39). The human nature of Christ did not want to go through that cruel crucifixion, but still, Christ said, “Your will be done”, and He laid down His life willingly (John 10:17-18), Jesus remained steadfast in His commitment to the Father’s will, and His desire is that we have the same commitment that He demonstrated (John 15:10).