Jump Start # 2225
Philippians 2:2 “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
One of the marvels of the N.T. is how God expects and even demands that His children to be like minded. In Corinthians, the expression is “one mind.” In Romans, it is glorify God with “one voice.” Here, our verse today from Philippians, is being of the “same mind.”
In an age of individualism, tolerance, acceptance of all things different, how can the people of God get their thinking to be the same? This is more than doing what everyone else is doing. It’s more than showing up, but keeping your mouth quiet. These verses deal with the way one thinks. Same mind. One mind. One voice. These principles involve the way we think. It begins on our inside, the way that we think.
It’s not uncommon to find this spirit missing, even among God’s people. I hear people saying, “Well, that’s them. I don’t go along with that.” Or, “I certainly do not believe like they do.” And immediately we realize that there is not one mind, the same mind or one voice. Often what the elders say is not how others feel. This is especially true when it comes to discipline. Instead of the sheep following the shepherds, the sheep are going a different direction. An undercurrent of mistrust, suspicion and rebellion develops. When enough feel the same, it is not uncommon to find some breaking away and starting another congregation. The new place faces a huge mountain to overcome if it will survive. Most within a decade have drifted away and the doors close. It’s hard to maintain a group that is built upon not having one mind, one spirit and one intent. Diversity of mind generally splinters a group.
How do we get to “one mind?” And, whose mind is it?
First, we must all unite upon the Scriptures. It’s not my way, nor is it your way, but rather, it is His way. Selfish ambition should have been ditched when we denied ourselves and took up our cross and followed Him. Unspiritual men who do not understand the nature of the Scriptures, jockey for position to run the church. They thrive on power and position and want to boss others into obedience. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This has nothing to do with running the church. It is about all of us agreeing upon the Scriptures and following the Scriptures. How can we play a game, any game, sports, board game, card game, ping pong, if we cannot agree upon the rules. Our minds merge and become one when we agree to follow the rules of the game. We don’t make the rules. We don’t change the rules in the midst of a game. We agree to follow them as they are stated. This is why there are printed rules on board games. This is why there are rule books and refs and umps in the game of sports.
Second, to have the same mind, is not a matter of you having my mind or me having your mind, but both of us having the mind of Christ. When we set forth to act like Jesus, think like Jesus and do what Jesus would do, suddenly our minds have become one. But for this to happen, there must be a willingness on our part. There are times when I would rather fire the missiles than forgive. Jesus would forgive. There’s my answer. There are times when I would rather be served than to serve. Jesus would serve. There’s my answer. There are times when I would rather complain than count blessings. Jesus would count blessings. There’s my answer. The reason why strife, division, and ugliness thrives in many congregations is simply because someone does not want to act like Jesus would. My feelings get hurt. I don’t get any attention. My name wasn’t included in the bulletin. I didn’t get a shout out from the pulpit. No one thanked me. That’s all it takes for me to leave the one mind of others and start thinking about myself. You know Jesus was mistreated. Jesus was reviled. Jesus was threatened. Yet, Jesus chose not to respond that way. Having one mind in a group of individuals can be hard. We are all different. Let’s say, for example, after services, everyone decided to go to the same place to eat. That would never happen. There would be some who just don’t like the place that was chosen. Some would say that they don’t like the food or the service there. Do the same with a movie. We couldn’t all agree. Do the same with painting the walls of the church building. We can’t all agree. Having the same mind begins by cooperating, compromising where you can, and being a team player. Individualism kills one mind.
Third, great things are accomplished when we think alike. I’ve had people talk to me about serious issues in their lives. I encouraged them to share that with the elders. Many times, the response is, “I know what they will say.” How do you know that? We are of one mind and we stand together on the Scriptures. I know what they will say, too. This ought to eliminate the thought, “My church teaches that, but I don’t believe that.” That very statement shows a lack of one mind and a lack of Biblical understanding. The church doesn’t make the rules. The church isn’t what we follow. It’s the word of the Lord. The word of the Lord is going to read the same. Stay home and be a party pooper, yet, your Bible will read the same.
However, when we are all thinking like Jesus, and we are all Bible focused, just image the good that is done. People step up and serve, just like Jesus. People are patient with one another, just like Jesus. Bible answers are given as advice, just like Jesus. Our intentions are pure. Our motives are clear. We are wanting to help people get to Heaven. No double standards. No backroom deals. No under the table stuff. All honest. All the same. All following the Bible. Strong. Biblical. Moving forward.
Is it possible to have the same mind? Yes. When we want to and when we pull ourselves out of the picture and when we surround ourselves with a standard, the word of God. Not only is it possible, but it is being done all over the world. And the world cannot appreciate this. They see this as a surrender of individualism. They see this as herd mentality. But what the world offers is chaos, disunity, and misery. There is not one voice to listen to but thousands all saying different things. There is not one direction to follow, but a million and they all lead away from God. Pride, individualism, independence are not the stuff that makes a great church.
The same mind. It’s necessary in parenting. It’s helpful in government administrations. It’s a must when it comes to a congregation. Thinking like Christ, that’s what all of this comes down to.