The Mindset of Christ

One of the more practical and empowering secular books I have read is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck. In it the author contrasts fixed and growth mindsets. Those with fixed mindsets allow their talent and ability to define them. They believe these traits are unchangeable, so self-esteem is based on how one compares with others. Challenges are threatening to the fixed mindset, for any failure is self-defining. For people with growth mindsets, on the other hand, the win is not so much on the comparison with others, but on learning and development. They embrace challenges, struggles, criticism and setbacks, for each is an opportunity for growth. Thankfully, the author asserts that mindsets are belief systems, and those with fixed mindsets can change them. I consider Mindset to be a good read.

In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul taught on a unique mindset, the servant mindset: “In humility value others above yourselves . . . ”1 Sounds honorable, but isn’t this essentially a fixed mindset, the kind that limits our potential by how we compare to others? Isn’t this a win-lose proposition in which we lose? Are we less valued than those we are called to serve? Not at all. Rather our newfound esteem for others arises from our own encouragement from being in Christ, our own comfort from knowing we are loved, and our own inclusion in the Spirit.2 It is in the marvel that we are loved and the security that we are priceless that we begin to realize also the inestimable value of others. So Paul says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”3 This mindset—His mindset—is not the kind that is fixed on ourselves and threatened by humility; it is the mindset that grows in grace and bears fruit.

We are individually and collectively loved by the Creator of all things, and though He is God, He constantly serves us; sometimes we are aware of it, and most times we are not. Humility is no threat to Him—it is His character, it is the mindset of Christ. We could not be more greatly loved or more humbly served than we are. Then in this confidence may we turn our inward gaze outward toward people and serve them as they are—priceless.

Father, valuing others above ourselves is not natural to us; we chafe at the thought. But this is what You do, for You serve us every day. Inspire us to value others above ourselves and to serve them as Your priceless creation. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Philippians 2:3
2 Philippians 2:1
3 Philippians 2:3-5


“Do You Not Know?”

A friend was recalling the time when his mother-in-law plopped down an edition of Reader’s Digest in front of him and urged him to take the abbreviated intelligence test featured inside. He went along with her suggestion and was greatly surprised when his final score indicated his intelligence to be of Mensa-caliber. He had done OK in school, but had no idea of the innate ability that resided within him. Had he known, he reflected, he would have applied himself more diligently in school and positioned himself better for life. He consoled himself by approaching his work with a newfound confidence in a once-latent capability.

The church in Corinth likewise had no idea of that which lived inside of them, and it took the passion of Paul to awaken them to one irrefutable truth: the Holy Spirit of God lives within every member of the body of Christ. So important to the bold apostle that they understand this that three times in two letters he pleaded with them: Do you now know? “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”1 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”2 “Do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”3 What can we conclude but that 1) Christ in them was indeed true; 2) His Spirit in them was vitally important; 3) these believers apparently did not know the truth of Who lived inside of them; and 4) their lack of awareness made Christ in them no less factual.

“Do you not know?” Paul’s passion of yesterday resounds to us today, and not one bit diminished. Let us receive today this glorious truth: Christ lives in me, His child; Christ lives in us, His body. Then with “Christ in you, the hope of glory,”4 let us like Paul “strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in [us].”5 For God has put His Spirit in us for a reason—that we would live in Him, and He in us, forever, and that He would work His Kingdom will through us. This we now know. Of this we can be certain. For this we give praise.

Father, by Your grace and through our faith in Christ, Your Spirit lives in us. Grace us to receive this for ourselves and to understand what it means for us. Then lead us today in the power of Your Spirit, so that Your will may be done through Your people, and that You will be glorified in your church. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV
2 1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
3 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
4 Colossians 1:27
5 Colossians 1:19


Every Facet of Christ

Have you ever noticed that different people draw out different character qualities from you? Some elicit a keener sense of humor perhaps, and others stimulate you to conversations of greater depths. One offers you a safe place for vulnerability and honesty, while another stirs your intellect. This one makes you laugh along life’s journey, and that one looks back on it with you through the nostalgic lens of friendship. It takes many people to put all of our facets on display. In turn, we do the same for others—calling forth a part of them like no one else can. This is a marvelous aspect of life.

The apostle Paul once wrote, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”1 We all have our own role in the body, for “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”2 Then here is the amazing thing: each one of us shines forth a facet of Christ’s being like no one else can, for we are each uniquely made, uniquely gifted, and uniquely positioned to display Jesus wherever we are. From one gleams the joy and peace of Christ to a seeker; through another, patience and kindness flow in affirmation for the downtrodden. God’s goodness and faithfulness find voice through the witness who has experienced the same, and Christlike gentleness and self-control declare personal worth to those who question their own.

There is no need to doubt our Kingdom impact in the world, nor to envy that of another. Each of us displays a facet of Christ, and collectively His body is seen through all of us. Be you—your newly created you3—for Christ shines uniquely through you.

Father, thank You for creating me exactly the way you did, and for redeeming me in Christ and making me new. Be glorified—every facet of Yourself—through the body of Christ, to which you have so graciously made me a part. In His name and by the power of the Spirit I pray. Amen.

1 1 Corinthians 12:27
2 1 Corinthians 12:18
3 2 Corinthians 5:17