8 Steps To Having The Attitude Of Christ
We continue our journey through Philippians. Today we examine Philippians 2:5-8.
A few years ago, I applied for a different position at work, a promotion. It was within the same department I worked in, so I thought I had a great shot at it. However, it was not to be. What was even worse was that my boss told me that I had a terrible attitude. My first reaction was anger. Who was he to tell me that I had a bad attitude? Then denial. There was no way I had a bad attitude. Next came the thought that everyone just had it wrong, their perception was that I had a bad one. Finally, one day I admitted the truth to myself, realizing that I did have a bad attitude. This was the first step to getting back to having a good one.
In the verses we are taking a look at today, Paul describes the eight steps of Jesus’ attitude and directs us to have this same attitude. It was the attitude that he pursued on a daily basis.
In verse 5, Paul writes Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Paul is saying that Christ should be the role model for attitude. Not himself. Not a self-help guru. Not anyone else. Christ. Have the attitude that was also found in Christ Jesus.
What is this attitude that was found in Christ? We can refer back to verses 3 and 4, where Paul writes Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. It is difficult to look at the life of Christ and suggest that He did anything differently.
So, what steps did Jesus take to have this attitude?
First, we get a glimpse of who he really was. Paul states that He existed in the form of God. Paul leaves no doubt about Christ, that although He was a man, He was also God. He wants his readers to understand where Jesus started out, so that they could compare to where He ended up.
Jesus’ first step was that He did not regard equality a thing to be grasped. Even though he had eternally been God and would eternally be God, He set this aside temporarily. Although few of us would rarely admit it, we too often live our lives as if we are God. We need to examine our lives and set this attitude aside in our pursuit of the attitude of Christ.
Next Jesus emptied Himself. Christ had all of the riches of Heaven, yet He chose to empty Himself and become a man. He chose to live not as God, but as a man. He put limitations on Himself. Too often, we live as there are no restraints on ourselves. What limitations do we need to put on ourselves so that we can have the attitude of Christ?
Step three was Jesus taking the form of a bond-servant. A bond-servant was a servant who had been freed, but because he loved His master so much, he remained in his service. Even though He was equal to the Father, He lived as a bond-servant to the Father, following the Father instead of His own way.
The fourth step was was being made in the likeness of men. Jesus felt what every human has felt. The God who created the heavens and the earth, was hungry, tired and experienced every emotion we felt. When it’s all boiled down, no matter our circumstances, we have faced much of the same things in our lives.
Fifth, Being found in appearance as a man. Not only was Jesus in the likeness of man, but He appeared to people simply as a man. The God of the universe who cannot be contained appeared as something He was not. We all like to think that we are more than we appear to be. We should pursue being exactly what we are since Jesus stooped to be what we are.
The sixth step was Jesus humbling himself. Simply becoming a man was humbling, but it would have still been easy to take the attitude that He was God. However, He did not live as though He was God. What was the worst trait I had when I had the poor attitude I mentioned above? I was not humble.
The seventh step was Jesus’ humility was to exemplified by becoming obedient to the point of death. Jesus was sent to earth so that God could give His Son so that whoever believed in Him would not perish. He was willing to die so that this would happen. Our attitudes must reach this point, where we would die for the sake of others.
The final step in having the attitude of Christ is that not only would we die for others, but that we would be willing to be executed. Jesus was obedient to the point of even death on a cross. Would we face execution for the sake of Christ so that others could live?
The attitude of Christ is something that we should pursue on a daily basis. We have the means to achieve it. It means that we have a relationship with Him and we walk in His Spirit and name minute by minute, day by day.