Christ Our Pattern

Philippians 2:3‑5  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In the second chapter of the Epistle, Christ is looked at, not as going up to glory, but, as coming down to the cross; and we see the lowly mind that marked Him in every step that led to the cross. Thus Christ, in all the lowly grace of His path from the glory to the cross, is presented as our perfect pattern to produce in us a life of lowly grace.
The flesh in us is vainglorious; and the effort to exalt self often leads to the belittling of others. This vanity ever leads to strife. So we read of the disciples, "there was also a strife among them," because they each wanted to be accounted the greatest (Luke 22:2424And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (Luke 22:24)). And how often, since that day, the root of strife amongst the people of God has been that someone wanted to be great. But, says the Apostle, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." We may think this difficult at times, for as one has said, "We may see great vanity or pride in another, and one may be going on really better than this or that person"; but if close to Christ, however comparatively well we may be walking, we shall feel in His presence our own nothingness, and see our brother in Christ, and all that is of Christ in him, rather than his faults. Then it will not be difficult for each to esteem other better than themselves.
The Apostle, then, would have us to be of one mind (vs. 2); the one mind that he desires us to have is the lowly mind (vs. 3); and the lowly mind has been perfectly set forth in Christ (vs. 5). The mind of Christ would deliver us from all the self-importance of the flesh, and lead each to esteem himself the least of all.
We need the mind of Christ if we are to exhibit the lowly grace of Christ. It is possible to affect a lowly manner, and use humble words before men; but, if the grace of Christ is to be seen in us we shall need the lowly mind that was in Christ. Thus the Apostle turns our eyes upon Christ. Devoted saints may help us by their lives, their ministry, and their means, but only Christ can be the perfect pattern for the Christian's walk.
In all His perfect path He was the exact contrast to all that the flesh is. He made Himself of no reputation; the flesh in us would seek to make a reputation for itself, if not in the world, in the religious circle. He took upon Him the form of a servant; but the flesh in us likes to be served. He humbled Himself; the flesh in us likes to exalt itself. He was obedient to the will of another; we like to do our own wills.
In Christ we see the perfect love that made itself nothing in order to serve others. Love delights to serve; self likes to be served, and thinks itself exalted when others are waiting upon it. Walking in the spirit of Christ, vainglory would be gone, and the lowly grace of Christ would be expressed.
Win lowliness of heart, and having won beware;
And that thou grow not proud of lowliness have care.