Biblical leadership is quite different from the dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest world that exists all around us. Jesus said that if you want to be first, you need to be the servant of all. He made this very clear in Matt. 20:25-26: “But Jesus called them over and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.’” Philippians 2 challenges us to do nothing out of rivalry or conceit but to consider others as more important than ourselves.
Paul describes this as the mind of Christ. Thinking like Christ does not happen overnight; it is a lifetime work in progress. All too often, we value our opinion over God’s, and in the church, we hear, “Let me tell you what I think about that.” Is it not much better to find out what God thinks? What is the mind of Christ on this matter? What does Christ want your church to do, and what does He want you to do? If you are leading with the mind of Christ, there are certain things that just cannot be a part of how you function. You cannot have the mind of Christ and be self-centered.
In Scrappy Church, Thom Rainer says that you cannot have the mind of Christ and have a victim mentality. The mind of Christ demands that we stop blaming others and take responsibility for our own lives and ministries. Let me state it clearly — stop the blame game. It is very easy to blame others for your problems and challenges instead of being like Christ who emptied Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on the cross. You can blame everyone from church members to other churches and the list grows. The person most responsible for your attitude and spiritual vitality is you.
You also cannot have the mind of Christ and ignore the Great Commission. The mission of God is rooted in the identity of God Himself. God is a missionary God as seen in passages such as John 3:16 and John 20:21. When you have the mind of Christ, you join Him on His mission. Pursuing man is not simply what God does it is who He is. As leaders in His church, this is not just ecclesiology — what the church does; but it is theology — who God is. Reggie McNeal defines “missional” as “The people of God partnering with God in His redemptive mission in the world.” Jesus came “to seek and to save that which is lost.”
You cannot have the mind of Christ and live out of fear instead of by faith. Fear causes you to believe that you are fishing in too small a pond. Will you have enough resources? Will you have enough people? You begin to be driven by a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance mentality. God has promised to supply our every need “according to His resources in Heaven.” In Anatomy of a Revived Church, Thom Rainer declares, “There is simply no strong correlation between money in the bank and the health of a church.” Remember that where God guides, He also provides.
You cannot have the mind of Christ and neglect a constant, continual prayer life. Jesus realized that He needed to get alone with His Father and spend time talking with Him. He wanted every step and every decision to be God-initiated. Having the mind of Christ means you have that same desire, realizing how much more you desperately need Him. Acts 2:42 says the early church was devoted to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Devoted means with much intensity and deliberation. It is like a wild and hungry beast ready to devour its prey. It describes fervent, intense, passionate prayer.
You cannot have the mind of Christ and hold on to animosity and anger in your heart against a brother or sister in Christ. Having the mind of Christ means that if you go to the altar and realize your relationship with someone is not right, you leave the altar and go make it right. Is there someone you are holding a grudge against? Is there someone you are unwilling to forgive? Is there someone with whom you are refusing to seek reconciliation? That is not leading with the mind of Christ. I John 4:21 says: “And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love His brother.”
Having the mind of Christ means we love what God loves and hate what God hates. God hates sin, but He loves sinners. A genuine sign of revival in the church is when Christians turn from actively loathing those they see as their enemies and begin actively loving them. Luke 6:32-33 says it like this: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” The mind of Christ requires that we love others the way He has shown His love to and for us.
Paul makes it clear in Phil. 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” John 5:19 describes what that looked like in Christ’s life: “Then Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Fatherdoes, the Son also does these things in the same way.’” The mind of Christ!