Philippians 2:1-11

Have This Mind

Paul begins this section with a series of questions that are rhetorical in nature. He points them to the grace that abounds and reminds them of the benefits which they enjoy. Paul tells them to complete his joy through the same mind and love. He then alternates between the negative and positive ways that believers should relate to one another. Pride and ambition are enemies to Christian love. In verse four, I think we miss what Paul says to some degree. Paul does not say to ignore and abandon your interests, and he says to be mindful of the interest of others. It seems that our tendency is to exclude others interests altogether. The love and unity of the local church are a convincing apologetic for the gospel. 


Jesus' incarnation is often sentimentalized to the point that his humiliation is ignored. Jesus did not insist upon what was rightfully his. God became like his creatures. These words should render us speechless and overwhelmed. Christ left the glory he had before the foundation of the world (John 17:5). The King of all creation became a servant (Philippians 2:7). Jesus was born into a poor family (Luke 2:7). The lawgiver submitted himself to the law (Galatians 4:4). The one with authority was obedient (Philippians 2:8). Jesus' people rejected him (John 1:11). The Holy One became sin for our sake (2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead of grasping what was rightfully his, Jesus willingly laid aside his glory and took our humanity. Jesus never ceased to be God, but he took on our humanity becoming fully God and fully man at the same time. Jesus humiliated himself willingly to serve his creation and redeem them. God humbled himself to the point of death, even enduring the curse of the cross. Jesus was not the only person to die on a cross, but his death was different as he became the sin-bearer for his people. He bore the wrath of God for our sake so that we might be reconciled to God. Charles Wesley penned it this way:

’Tis mystery all! The immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine
’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
Jesus accomplished redemption on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where he reigns in exaltation. The Father has restored his glory, and he has the name under which all of creation will bow. King Jesus reigns!
— Charles Wesley

Things To Consider:

  • How are you encouraged in Christ?
  • How do you participate in the Spirit?
  • Why is it difficult to have the same mind?
  • Is ambition always a bad thing? Why or why not?
  • Why is it difficult to think of others as more significant?
  • How can we look to the interests of others?
  • Why did Jesus humiliate himself?
  • Where do you see Jesus move from humiliation to exaltation besides the resurrection?
  • Is Jesus your Lord?
  • Are you currently in rebellion or submission to his rule in your life?
  • Why is Jesus worthy of worship?
  • Why is confession necessary?
  • How does our confession glorify the Father?