Dear Church family,
We are continuing our study of the Letter to the Philippians in church this weekend. This letter from Paul offers some of the most well-known and beloved quotes from all of Scripture. Here is one from chapter 2:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind…Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (2: 1-2, 5).
Paul writes that we are to have the same mind that Jesus has. This reminds me of the striking difference between Jesus’ reciting of the Greatest Commandment versus the version in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 6 we read that we are to love the Lord our God with all our “heart and with all our soul and with all our might.” In the gospels Jesus says that the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of these things but also with our minds (see Matthew 22:37 and Mark 12:30).
What does it mean to love God with our minds? What does it mean to have the same mind as Jesus?
Two images may help here. In Old Testament Hebrew, the word “mind” was related to several other words including “reins” and “kidneys.” Yes, that’s right: kidneys. First, let’s consider the mind as reins.
When we think of reins we think of the thing that controls a horse, that leads a horse, that directs the horse’s action and direction. Without reins, a horse would go wherever it wanted! This is such a helpful image for how we think of our minds. Our minds are not just our brain but our will. To have the same mind as Christ is to have reins on our will, continually pulling ourselves back to his direction and his leading.
Second, I know you want to consider kidneys!
Think about what it is our kidneys do. Basically they are filters, filtering debris and waste in the body; and they are regulators, regulating the amount of blood flow in our bodies. What does this add to our understanding of our minds? In Jesus’ time minds were not just our intellect but they were also our filter and our regulator. If we are to have the same mind as Jesus then we will use our minds to filter out what is unhelpful and unfaithful in our lives. It also means we base our thoughts on the teachings Jesus has given us, he is our regulator and he sets the pattern.
As you consider your own discipleship this week, pray about the ways you want Christ to lead your mind and filter your mind. This prayer will help you begin to have the same direction and pattern in you that he has in him. And, in all of our lives, wouldn’t that make our joy complete?
Christ’s peace be with you all,