Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (2:5).
As Paul begins to direct the Philippians toward a way of thinking that emulates their Savior’s, he appeals to them on the basis of what they have received through their faith in Christ, and he phrases it in such a way that almost seems ludicrous.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, (2:1).
How improbable to think that the Philippians would have to ponder an answer to Paul’s proposition for even a moment. When Paul asked them to consider “if there is any encouragement… if there is any consolation… if there is any fellowship… if there is any affection and compassion in Christ,” he was stating the obvious. In other words, of course you have all this; and you have all this because of the Activity of His Attitude that voluntarily gave up so much in order to grant us His salvation and support, His condolence and companionship, and His care and concern.
Consider the Activity of His Attitude
From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
5426. φρονέω phronéō; contracted phronṓ, fut. phronḗsō, from phrḗn (5424), mind. To think, have a mindset, be minded. The activity represented by this word involves the will, affections, and conscience.
From Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament:
26.16 φρονέωa: (derivative of the base φρον‘thoughtful planning,’ 26.15) to employ one’s faculty for thoughtful planning, with emphasis upon the underlying disposition or attitude—‘to have an attitude, to think in a particular manner.’
From Oxford English Dictionary:
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
Nothing about the Activity of His Attitude was left to chance; it was settled before He was born. Jesus Christ came to earth with a mindset involving His will, His affections and His conscience to employ thoughtful planning clearly reflected in His behavior.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, (2:3-8).
- The Activity of His Attitude: selflessness
- Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
- The Activity of His Attitude: humble consideration of others as more important than Himself
- but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
- The Activity of His Attitude: looking out for the interest of others
- do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
- The Activity of His Attitude: letting go of His rights
- Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
- The Activity of His Attitude: the willing emptying of Himself
- but emptied Himself,
- The Activity of His Attitude: willingly becoming a bond-servant
- taking the form of a bond-servant,
- The Activity of His Attitude: willingly taking on flesh
- and being made in the likeness of men.
- The Activity of His Attitude: humble obedience to the point of death
- Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death
- The Activity of His Attitude: willingly suffering the most humiliating and excruciating of all deaths
- even death on a cross.
How do we respond to the Activity of His Attitude?
It is truly incomprehensible when we think on the Activity of His Attitude.
Have you ever heard the words, “You better fix your attitude!” I sure have; more times than I can remember. And if you have heard it, you know the reprimand was not addressed solely to your thought-life, but included the activities birthed out of the mind.
When Paul talked of the Attitude of Christ, he was referring to what predicated the Activity of our Savior.
Paul’s letter was written to encourage the church in Philippi to follow the example of Christ’s Attitude so that they would grow in the Activity of unity of love, spirit and purpose.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose, (2:1-2).
Truth be told, most of us have come to realize that wrong attitudes don’t fix themselves; and they don’t fix easily either. And to make matters even more complicated, often we really don’t want them fixed. Couldn’t this explain why some churches find themselves more absorbed in disagreeing and squabbling than loving and witnessing?
But oh, if we would only live mindful of our Savior, Who is exalted above every name because of the Activity of His Attitude.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (2:9-11).
Oh, that we would take seriously how truly exalted our Risen Savior is. How can we not be filled with awe and reverence? Oh, let us ask the Father to grow our desire to have the Attitude of Christ in us so that the Activity of our life would follow His example to work out what God has worked within.
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (2:12-13).
Lord, forgive us for being self-centered and self-absorbed, for looking out for our own interests and demanding our rights, for being so full of ourselves that we are resistant to serving in obedience and unwilling to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Lord, change us we pray, that we would have the Attitude of Christ so that our every Activity would always be without grumbling or disputing as we walk in Your love and unity.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; (2:14).
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma, (Ephesians 5:1-2).