Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
There is a ton in this passage, and there’s no way I can go into it all, but it’s important to me for several reasons. First, it holds Jesus as the center and focus of God’s entire work … the one to whom the Father intends all of us to pay honor, and the one to whom we owe our obedience. Second, it’s one of the most compelling indications, to me at least, that Jesus is distinct from and subordinate to the Father … which is why I do not hold to the “co-equal persons” construction of Trinity taught by many evangelical churches.
But most importantly, it calls us to the very un-American, and perhaps basically un-human, choice to live in humility. Jesus, Paul tells us, could have insisted on his “rights” to live in equality with his Father, but he didn’t … and because he didn’t, God rewarded him with exaltation to the highest place. This is the “mind of Christ,” completely unnatural to us, but the very thing that makes other-loving, self-giving life of the follower of Jesus possible. May we all learn to show it.