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An attitude like Jesus'
October 1, 2012
by Pastor Keith Carlson, Ev. Covenant Church, Dassel

“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:5

Living with an “attitude” has become a common theme in our world.

In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, the apostle Paul shares with us the great goal and challenge that faces every follower of Christ. He says, “ . . . have the same attitude Jesus had.”

The same as Jesus!

We are to have the same mind or the same heart that Jesus exhibited. After all, what is in our heart determines what comes out of us. If we are selfish, our actions will be divisive and destructive. But for Christians, our attitude reflects the choice to love and obey Christ Jesus.

So what should our attitude be like?

I recall when Pope John II visited the United States in October 1979. Details and preparations for such a visit were amazing. Planning required precision and thoroughness.

In Chicago, as officials prepared for Pope John’s arrival, they made a startling discovery. The local papal “throne” was missing. It is customary in the Roman Catholic Church for each archdiocese to maintain a “throne room” in case of a visit by the Pope. But the Pope had never visited in Chicago, so their hope was abandoned, and the room was turned into a place for committees to meet.

Quickly, a workman rebuilt a platform, but the officials panicked momentarily when no one could remember what happened to the actually “throne.” It was finally found, with other unused furnishings, in a storage room at a nearby Catholic college.

The personal tragedy of many of us is that we have no place in our lives for the King of Kings, or we choose to take that place of importance ourselves. Or, as Christians, we proclaim Jesus as Lord, but refuse to reckon with who He really is, and what He requires of us.

Paul, as he writes to believers in Philippi, reminds us about the servant heart of our Lord and His invitation to be like Him.

Thomas Langford expressed this as clearly as possible when he wrote: “In Jesus, we find embodied the self-giving of God to persons and the self-giving of a person to other persons. Jesus, the Lord, who is our servant, and Jesus is the servant who is our Lord.

Paul encourages us to “have the same attitudes as Jesus,” but perhaps his toughest words for us came earlier when he wrote, “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3)

That is such a contradiction to the rampant self-interest being expressed by most in our world. It is starkly clear here that the call of Christ is expressed in our ultimate concern for others, and that concern leaves no room for indulgent self-interests.

The call is to have the mind of Christ, who emptied Himself, and became a servant to us all. It is my prayer that we will approach each day with the same attitude that Jesus did.