Monday, April 2, 2018
Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (NIV)
I have always been rather opinionated. Many of you are thinking, “That’s an understatement!” You are probably correct. My pride motivates my choice to express opinions frequently and forcefully.
There is an element of pride involved in the expressing of an opinion. Opinions give us a chance to be right about something, and that feeds our need for acceptance and worth. For many people, opinions validate choice. Opinions are used to justify and defend actions. Opinions have become the new value system of human experience.
When Paul says that our attitudes should be the same as those of Christ, he uses a word that literally means “opinion.” He is challenging us to make sure that our opinions are the same as those of Christ.
Opinions are not wrong, except where they contradict truth. This is a HUGE issue in our culture today, and it has infiltrated our churches. Every day we are bombarded with the results of the latest opinion poll. Facts are no longer the basis for decision-making. Opinions based on desired outcomes now dictate our political and moral choices. It is incredibly frustrating to try and hold a spiritual conversation with the average person because opinion has been granted the status of truth.
It doesn’t matter what my opinion is on any subject if that opinion contradicts the reality. No matter how strongly I express my opinion, it doesn’t make it truth unless it agrees with established truth. No matter how loudly or boldly I talk about it, unless it is the truth, the opinion is nothing more than an attempt to build self-esteem.
For unity to occur in any situation or organization, like the church, opinions must be surrendered to truth and never be allowed to carry equal authority with the truth. Unity is immediately destroyed if the central truth of any issue is minimized for the sake of diverse opinions.
If unity is going to happen in your church, then your personal opinion should be in agreement with the truth of Jesus Christ. To make sure we understand this, Paul uses Jesus as the supreme model of a person with correct attitudes (opinions). Here’s how Paul describes the correct attitudes of Christ for us to adopt as our own. (Phil. 2:6-11)
- Jesus is eternally God. Phil. 2:6
- Jesus was willing to sacrifice His status and significance for the sake of those who were beneath Him and unable to reach Him. Phil. 2:7-8
- When He completed the sacrifice, His status and significance were enhanced with a new Name and new honor. Phil. 2:10-11a
- He did it all for the glory of the Father. Phil. 2:11b
It is a fact, not an opinion, that my opinions generally serve myself and minimize the sacrifice of any status or significance. It is also a fact, not an opinion, that my opinions take priority over yours. It is also a fact, not an opinion, that unless that stops, and all of my opinions are surrendered to the truth of Christ, we will never experience the joy of unity.
Will you join me in learning to minimize opinions and elevate Christ, so that our minds and attitudes are the same as His?