Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous…
What does it mean to be of one mind…
Let me start out by saying what this does not mean. It does not mean that we are to be all identical in our thoughts and understandings. We are all created in the image of God, and we have all been redeemed by the same Christ, but that does not mean that we all look alike, walk alike, talk alike and wear the same clothing. We are not robots programmed with the same program walking in the same manner.
It takes a good deal of maturity to realize this. For instance, I can remember growing up, whenever a friend or someone I looked up to didn’t like some music, I always felt that since they didn’t like it, I shouldn’t like it either, if I wanted to be their friend. As I grew, I realized that there is freedom in tastes and preferences. We do not all have to listen to the same music to be friends.
There is diversity, uniqueness in God’s creation and therefore the body of Christ is diverse, unique as well. There is nothing wrong with differences of preference. It is how God made us. What is wrong is when we let differences and preferences divide us. Because of the fact that often times we are easily divided, Peter tells us to be of one mind.
Since he is not intending for us to be all the same, in what ways are we to be of one mind? In two ways, the first is that we are to have the mind of Christ. The second way is that our beliefs are to be alike as much as possible.
Paul helps us in understanding this like mindedness in Philippians.
Philippians 2:2 Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
The key to understanding this one mindedness is understanding that we are looking to Christ for this to be a reality in our own lives. He is the one who’s mind is perfect and without flaw. How did He live His life on earth? In humility and putting others first. Christ is the starting point once again for how we should live. If we are to have a Christ-centered life, a Christ-centered church, a Christ-centered theology and a Christ-centered ministry, then we must start with our Savior.
Jesus is the heir of all things… the brightness of (the Father’s) glory, and the express image of His person. He is the One who upholds all things by the word of His power. If we are to live in accordance with His mind, then we must turn to Him and His word. There is no other way to have the mind of Christ except by turning to Christ, through His written Word.
What does Paul tell us in Romans 12? Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
In order to have the mind of Christ, we must have our minds renewed because of the constant battle of sin that remains with us even after we are converted. The flesh wants to war with God and all things spiritual. Therefore we are in a battle that takes the daily struggle of becoming more Christ like. That is why Paul says that we must renew our minds, so that we are transformed. Notice Paul’s words in Romans 12:2… do not be conformed… there is a battle between the world, the flesh and the devil to conform us to its image. The world wants us to be like it. The flesh wants us to reject the things that are spiritual. It wants to conform us into a mold that is unacceptable to God. But by God’s grace… we can be transformed and made new… This is an ongoing progress. There is no check list. We are not done when all items on the list are marked off.
Before we can even begin to have the mind of Christ, we must be converted. Both Peter and Paul in 1 Peter and Philippians are assuming that you have been converted.
The hardened heart is not concerned about the things of God. It bears bad fruit, such as divisiveness. If our fruit is divisiveness then perhaps we should question our conversion. For the true Christian, while he may be plagued with besetting sins, desires to have the mind of Christ. Being divisive is not having the mind of Christ.
What does being divisive look like?
These are people who argue for the sake of arguing in order to be right, and puff themselves up while belittling the other. Those who quarrel about everything, are divisive. They may even be quarreling about theological topics. Those who are divisive are also those who undermine the leadership of the church. It would be like someone joining our church that does not believe in infant baptism. We do accept members that don’t believe in infant baptism. That is not a requirement for membership. But we would ask that they would not try to dominate every Sunday school and teach that it is wrong. This would be divisive.
What does having the mind of Christ look like? Those who have the mind of Christ realize that they are not always going to agree… and when the disagreement arises, hopefully they will act in a manner that requires maturity, deciding if the issue is worth jumping on the sword for. If it is not, then let it go. One of the ways that we determine what is important is by asking the question: what is worth dying over?
There are matters of grave importance that we should not give up upon, like the deity of Christ, and there are matters that are not worth arguing over, like the color of the carpet.
But our mindset should be like that of Christ, who is calling us to be like Him by putting others first. We are to have the same mind as Christ, who esteemed others as better than Himself.