“In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” (Php 2:5)
To learn the right mindset of a disciple in relationships with God, with others, and in ministry.
What Is Jesus’ Mindset?
From the gospels, we can find Jesus’ attitudes that constitute his mindset as follows:
Obedience to the Father
Among many elements of Jesus’ mindset, "humility" was most outstanding. Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Even though he is the image of the invisible God, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Furthermore, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross (Php 2:6-8)! Taking the very nature of a servant, he embraced a life of weakness, poverty, shame, homelessness, rejection, and pain. Jesus had lowliness of heart as a suffering servant that was prophesied in Isaiah 53. Humility was an intrinsic part of his mindset. In his humility we find rest for our souls (Mt 11:29). When we imitate his humility as our intrinsic mindset, we can truly be his disciple and disciple-maker.
Why Is A Mindset Important In Ministry?
Jesus’ mindset is God-centered, God-glorifying, God’s kingdom-oriented with servantship toward people. Jesus commanded; “Preach the good news to all creation” (Mk 16:15) and “Make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). Christian ministry is continuation and expansion of Jesus’ ministry through His servants who imitate His mindset. Disciple-making is possible through personal interaction between a mentor and his/her student(s). It is a reproduction process. Since the ultimate goal of discipleship is to transform the students to become Jesus’ disciples who have the mindset of Jesus Christ, it is essential that the mentor himself/herself have the mindset of Christ. Without the example of the mentor who demonstrates the mindset of Christ, a successful discipleship is unwarranted, if not impossible. Therefore, we should do our best not to conform to the pattern of this world (to put off our old self), but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (to put on the new self) by obeying the word of truth (Eph 4:22-24).
How Can We Practically Serve People With Jesus’ Mindset?
Knowing Jesus’ mindset and putting it into practice is crucial to our discipleship ministry. By practicing it we can experience and participate in his divine humanity. Spiritual revival comes from emulating Jesus’ mindset. We can learn how to practically serve people from Jesus’ mindset toward the Father, his disciples, and people.
Christ’s mindset toward God the Father.
While Christ was carrying out his messianic task, his mindset toward God was always submissive and cooperative. In John 6:17,19 Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working…Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” The Son could have worked based on his own plan and time schedule, but he always followed the Father’s hour (Jn 2:4: 7:6: 17:1; 19:28). Christ often withdrew himself from the crowd and his disciples, and went to mountains to pray (Mt 14:23; Mk 1:35; Lk 5:16).
From birth to death, from the cradle to the cross, the Son Jesus showed his submission to God the Father in order to fulfill His will. Christ’s humility and obedience came from his deep trust and love relationship with God the Father. Christ himself said to his disciples, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (Jn 14:23). Without such intimate love and trust relationship with Christ and with others, practicing Christ’ mindset becomes superficial or unbeneficial. Before we practice Christ’s mindset for others, we must learn how to put our mindset toward our Lord Jesus, as the Son did toward the Father. Christ Jesus is our perfect example and role model whom we should follow.
Christ’s mindset toward his disciples.
From the initial stage of his messianic ministry Christ called his disciples and let them stay with him (Mk 3:14). They were unschooled folk. But Jesus saw God’s vision for world salvation through them. Jesus saw his chosen with the eyes of hope. His disciples experienced the power of God in their mission journeys when they simply trusted in Jesus and obeyed him (Lk 10:17). Jesus also helped them to see the world with God’s redemptive perspective (Mt 9:37,38). Christ saw his disciples with the eyes of hope because he had faith in God the Father. Jesus believed that the disciples were those whom God the Father sent (Jn 17:6,7).
Christ humbled himself and washed their feet and commanded them to wash other’s feet as he did for them (Jn 13:14). After his resurrection, he visited his disciples, who had run away during his trial. At the Sea of Galilee, Christ forgave Peter and reinstated him (Jn 21:1-19). Christ’s servantship toward his disciples was an example of faith and hope. Apostle Paul mentioned three components of Christ’s mindset—faith, hope, and love (1Co 13:13). These should be our mindset toward disciples of Jesus under our care.
Christ’s mindset toward people.
Christ Jesus saw people with the eyes of compassion. Jesus’ heart was broken when he saw suffering people under the power of Satan. Jesus wept when Mary and Martha were mourning before the power of death (Jn 11:35). The following cases in, John’s gospel shows how Christ demonstrated his messianic compassion, faith, and hope for suffering people:
Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-20)
Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman (Jn 4:1-26)
Jesus’ healing of an invalid (Jn 5:1-11)
Jesus’ healing of a man born blind (Jn 9:1-26)
Jesus’ counseling for Mary and Martha (Jn 11:43)
Jesus obeyed the Father’s will and appeared as a man. He saw a vision for world salvation through his handful of disciples. Above all, he served God’s flock of sheep one by one with great compassion, faith, and hope. The young generation in this post-modern world needs good shepherd with Jesus’ mindset. May we grow in humility and obedience toward God, compassion, faith and hope toward people after the mindset of Jesus Christ.