A Priceless Mind
Robert Wurtz II
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
It is sobering to think that Paul penned these words from an ancient jail cell. Understand that jail in the first century was far removed from modern times. In fact, the jail Paul wrote from would likely not have passed muster with the Geneva Convention. We treat animals better than Paul was treated. The cruelty and torture Paul experienced during his ministry is legendary. In an age where even the most vile criminal has rights; Paul endured treatment more in step with a WWII POW camp. It is from this context that he offered us precious insight into the state of mind necessary to think rightly about ourselves and our life situations.
It is one thing to be humbled; it is quite another thing to humble ourselves. The one is forced upon a person; the other is done willingly and deliberately. No man humbled Jesus Christ; He humbled Himself. Paul is able to contrast this fact with the situation he was in. Someone else chose Paul’s humiliating circumstances; Jesus chose to humble Himself on His own terms. He condescended to man’s estate — from King of kings to Servant of servants. That is a mighty deep step. This is our example.
At some point in the eternal past, many of the angels began following the Creation’s first politician. Indeed, Satan had unparalleled ambition. That’s where most men and women get theirs from. He wanted to ascend into Heaven and ascend to the throne. He wanted to be “like” the Most High God. He had it all planned out. He was going to be like God. Really? Obviously, certain of the Angels, affected by his contagious, sin-diseased mind, had some serious misconceptions about God. Satan wanted the power and the glory, but not the mentality. Perhaps this is one of the reasons God has been using the Church to teach Principalities and Powers the manifold wisdom of God. They don’t know God like they need to. Heaven doesn’t provide the setting for God to demonstrate who He really is — but earth, with all of its fallen ness and suffering, is the perfect place. Indeed, it was the stage for the ages; not to perform as some play actor — but to put on a demonstration of godliness that will last for all times.
God said, “Let us make man in our own image and likeness.” Satan knew God’s plan. He apparently thought that if he could change the image of man, he was changing the image of God. He was trying to redefine God, exactly like he planned. This hijacking of the image of God in man has been one of the primary works of the Devil. In fact, for thousands of years, he influenced man to make gods in his own image. That is to say, after his own lusts. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ came to correct the image of man so it would once again reflect the image of God. Amen.
When I read of Christ’s mentality in Philippians 2:5-8, I think to myself, God could safely hand the reigns of the universe over to such a person and never fear tyranny. Moses was a type of Jesus Christ. It was said of him that he was the meekest man on earth. A meek person will never abuse their authority, power, or ability. That is what separates them from everyone else. A meek leader will not view their powers as “a thing to be grasped.” That is, to grasp after and clinch once they have acquired it. Many men and women have abused their powers over the centuries. This is one of the greatest evidence’s of the mind of Satan being in men. When they get power, they abuse it. In fact, give a man or woman power and authority, and you will find out who they really are.
The Devil’s Fear
If the Devil could have nightmares, they would involve armies of humans with lowliness of mind. Why? Because humility is one attribute that God will always respond to. In fact, God pours resources without number (grace), on people who serve the Lord and could not care less if they were ever seen or noticed. People who have a right estimate of themselves are a battle ax against evil principalities and powers in the hand of God. Not false humility, but the mind of Christ manifest in the minds of men. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. This is not automatic; it is something we must deliberately do — as surely as Jesus deliberately emptied Himself; put on robes of human flesh; and served with a towel draped around about, we must be also humble ourselves.
Paul stated on two occasions in his epistles (Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 2:3), that we are to walk in lowliness of mind. Trench says of this word (tapeinophrosune): “The Christian lowliness is no mere modesty or absence of pretension, nor yet a self-made grace. The making of ourselves small is pride in the disguise of humility. But the esteeming of ourselves small, inasmuch as we really are so, the thinking truly, and because truly, therefore, lowlily of ourselves.” In other words, we are small, so we need to recognize that fact. All things considered, we are nothing in ourselves. We can’t even stand or walk without grace. That’s not a figure of speech or a cliché; it is reality.
It has been said that pride is the only sin of which the Devil will not make us feel guilty. This is very challenging. Another place the Greek word for lowliness was used is found in an early secular manuscript of the Nile River at its low stage, “It runs low.“ This is a powerful picture. Our estimate of ourselves needs to “run low” and realize that if we are anything at all it is the consequence of rain from Heaven. Expositors defines the word, “The lowliness of mind, which springs from a true estimate of ourselves — a deep sense of our own moral smallness, and demerit.” (quoted in Weust) We are to have the mind of Christ in the genuine article as the antidote for pride.
The Devil is still at work in the 21st century to corrupt the image of God in man. He even works to corrupt the saints. Nevertheless, Paul has written to us by the Spirit to have the mind of Christ. Many are deluded into thinking that God will be pleased with us in the same way the world exalts its heroes. Nothing could be farther than the truth. The world promotes attitudes and dispositions that God detests. Perhaps we could close this entry with the words of Peter — that though written specifically to women, apply to men as well in this regard.
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:4).