We continue in our new Light for the Way series. Our goal is to deepen our focus on scripture. Each week we’ll provide an examination of a biblical reading, with attention to our shared service to older adults. Thank you for engaging with this series as we draw closer to our Christian Ministry value, and our pledge to seek wisdom through prayer and reflection.
By Chaplain Stephen Richards, Optage Hospice
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” — Philippians 2:5–6, NIV
My Christian faith has been largely forged in the fires of Bible study and academia, and I have many certificates on my wall which show just how much I have come to know God through these. As someone who loves the Bible, I will readily open it up to show others what I believe about God and what I believe God wants us to do based on the Wisdom found within it. There are also creeds, statements of faith and many theological writings which, for me, illustrate the Way of Jesus.
There is nothing wrong with studying the Bible and writing creeds, statements of faith or even theological expositions. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know God more. In fact, I think it is an important part of the Christian life that we seek to understand and explore God’s truth. However, what is our attitude in doing this? And, how much do we understand the knowledge we acquire as a result?
After all our studies, are we claiming equality with God?
It’s very easy to pick up the Bible and claim equality with God. It’s easy to place ourselves at the center and claim to be “the way” to God. You want to know God: well do it this way or do it my way. Yet in Christ, Paul — the writer to the Philippians — discerns a different way.
We are to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus,” but what is this mindset? Paul sets it out in the verses that follow: don’t claim equality with God but instead, become invested in human relationships. This is a dramatic reversal of power. So often humans have wielded power in the name of “God’s truth” and oppressed others as result. Many Christians have also divided from others in the name of “truth.”
Yet in following Christ, Paul suggests we follow Jesus into the fragility of the human condition. None of us have it all sorted out this side of eternity (see 1 Corinthians 13:12), so let’s be of the same mindset as Christ, who set down equality with God and “humbled himself” for the personal and spiritual betterment of others.
In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music, and other resources on the Pastoral Care website. We suggest saving the link or bookmarking the page, so you can check back often.