How Can We Think Like Jesus in a Broken World?

Jesus graffiti wall
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” — Philippians 2:5

Imagine what Jesus’ mind was like. Is it difficult to imagine? After all, Jesus was perfect. He was God, so he was all-powerful and all-knowing. But he was also fully human, too. He had thoughts. He had an imagination. He had likes and dislikes. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul tells us that we must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. But how can we, fallen humans in a broken world, think like Jesus? The Bible says that when we become Christians, our minds are made new (Romans 12:2), so our minds become like Christ’s mind. But is it really possible to have the mind of Christ—to think like him, to have the same attitude that Jesus had?

Jesus’ mind and his attitude always functioned in full awareness of heaven and of God’s plan for redemption. This is how God made us: to know him and be in communion with him. Because we are sinful people in a fallen world, we forget who God is and who he made us to be. We forget that this world is not all there is. But Jesus never forgot this. We think of Christ’s mind as being part of his divine nature, but his mind is also part of his human nature. As we grow as Christians, our minds and our attitudes will become more like Christ’s. We will live more and more in awareness of the reality of God’s Kingdom.

The Son obeyed the Father by becoming a vulnerable human. Jesus belonged on a throne, yet he submitted to being nailed to a cross. He took on a humble existence, experiencing poverty, pain, and a humiliating death. He chose to enter into the worst parts of human existence. How could he do this? The truth of knowing and believing in God’s plan allowed Jesus to willingly enter into painful, broken places and not be crushed. He knew what God was doing, and he did not lose sight of the goal. So the knowledge of who God is, is what gave Jesus the strength to endure great suffering, and this same truth enables us to endure any suffering the world has for us (1 Peter 4:1).

Yet we must also remember: Jesus’ attitude also allowed him to experience great joy. He enjoyed an intimacy with the Father that we were all designed for but can’t fully experience because of our sin. Jesus knew that obedience to the Father was itself a joy (Hebrews 12:2). Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God was glorified, and in the end, Jesus was glorified, too (John 17:5). He was restored to his proper place at the right hand of God after his work was complete. Jesus knew a deep joy—both during and after his earthly life—because he stayed in perfect union with the Father, unobstructed by sin. We are invited to have this attitude of joy and to experience it, too.

Jesus had a strong mind. Jesus knew great pain, but he also knew great joy; he was able to enjoy communion with the father. He never forgot the truth of who God is and who God made him to be, which informed his attitude for living a full human life, the life we were all made to live. And as co-heirs with Christ, we are called to share in both his sufferings and his glory (Romans 8:17). To experience both pain and joy the way Jesus did, we need to remember the truth of God’s Kingdom. This is the true mind—and true attitude—of Christ.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you know to be true about God and his plan to bring restoration? In what ways does this affect your daily life, relationships, and decisions?
  • Are there any forces in your life that challenge this belief? Are there any factors that make you forget or question your beliefs about who God is, what he is doing, and your role?
  • Jesus had a spirit of power and love, and a sound mind that could combat the outside forces that challenged his identity and what he knew to be true. We have this same spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). Do you feel like you have a strong mind, able to respond to life’s challenges with the truth of the gospel? If yes, thank God for the ways he has revealed Himself to you. If not, ask God for strength to believe what is true.