2021 Advent Devotions

Philippians 2:5-11 | December 24, 2021

The Form of a Servant
by Rob & Bettina Sandford

“Have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant …” (v. 5-7b).

Paul writes that we should seek to have the mind of Christ among ourselves. He says this is identified by humility, unselfishness, and obedience to the will of God. Paul is speaking about the need for unity and harmony in the divided Philippian fellowship, but we also need to hear these words today.

This passage of scripture disturbs us, because most of our time is not spent thinking about God and wondering how we can be of service to our neighbors. Our time is mostly spent thinking about our lives, our personal interests, and the problems of our day.

When Paul says, “Let this mind be in you,” he means that we can if we choose to, but how do we do this? Paul is talking about the inner changes which develop over a lifetime of obedience. This is not about a quick ticket punch to heaven. This is a way of living that is the opposite of the world’s values, and it requires a daily choice to obey His call.

The season of Advent gives an opportunity to reflect on whether we are living as though we have the mind of Christ. How can our living and our giving bless the poor, the hurting, the downtrodden? How can we become ambassadors of hope and grace? How can we move out of our comfort zone and help someone in need?

One Sunday years ago, I (Rob) asked our Training Union class what they would do if they saw a man and woman walking down the interstate. Would they stop and offer them a ride? No one said they would, so I told them this story:

That very afternoon, I was taking our older daughter back to the University of Richmond, and my car broke down several miles from Williamsburg. This was before the proliferation of cell phones, so we left the car and started walking. Before long, an older couple stopped and asked if we needed a ride. They agreed to take me to the Baptist Student Center at William & Mary where the campus minister, a colleague and friend, could take me back to Norfolk. Then, they would take our daughter to UR, since their route was through Richmond anyway. Our daughter called a few hours later, not only to say she had arrived safely, but that these wonderful people had treated her to dinner! Two people, who chose the mind of Christ, brought a moment of grace into our lives.