An “in Christ” Mindset

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1-2 ESV)

Notice how Paul begins the letter to the Philippians. He calls Paul and Timothy “servants” or “slaves” of Jesus. He then refers to the rest of the Christians at Philippi as “saints.” Paul sees them as having their identity in Christ.

Paul’s approach makes me think about how those in one’s local and extended church families should be addressed. And not just how they should be addressed, but how to think of them in general. It seems Paul had an “in Christ” mindset and he took time when writing to make sure this mindset toward others was known.

It’s amazing what observations and convictions may come out of a simple introductory sentence from the Bible.

How do I identify my brothers and sisters in Christ? How do I think about them? Do I think of them as servants of Christ first? Do I think of my own local church family as saints first? Is the “in Christ” mindset toward other Christians an afterthought or is it a thought at all?

How would others respond if I asked them whether or not they thought I had an “in Christ” mindset toward them?

Paul’s opening sentence shows a healthy Christian mindset good for personal reflection. This “in Christ” mindset should help  when praying for, or when frustrated with, other Christians. Paul’s mindset reflected in Christians today would go a long way for the body of Christ. Having this mindset is not an impossible task since the same Holy Spirit Who inspired Paul’s words lives in Christians today to inspire such holy attitudes. Amazing.

How do you think of other Christians?

For what it’s worth…

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bryan October 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Such a wonderful post. I think sometimes not only do we lose sight of who we are in Christ, but who are brothers and sisters in Christ are as well. Thanks for sharing.

2 Mark October 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Thank you, Bryan.

3 Zack October 15, 2011 at 7:27 am

“This ‘in Christ’ mindset should help . . . when frustrated with other Christians. Paul’s mindset reflected in Christians today would go a long way for the body of Christ.’

Good word, neighbor.

4 Steve Martin October 16, 2011 at 12:36 am

St. Paul tells us in Galatians that “those of us who were baptized have put on Christ.”

Knowing full well that beyond that we cannot know for sure who really is “in Christ”…or not.

5 Carl Holland October 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Ditto, Zack!

Steve, good point. I would go beyond that, though, to say, should it matter whether or not we know for sure if someone is “in Christ?” Shouldn’t we strive to have an “in Christ mindset” toward everyone, believer or not? John 3:16 says God loved the world, so shouldn’t our mindset be to reflect that love to draw those who are not “in Christ” to want to be?

6 Mark October 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Zack, thanks, bro.

Steve, I’m not exactly sure what your point is in relation to my post.

Carl, though you may be right in a sense I was using a specific passage to encourage Christians just as there is Scripture that can only encourage Christians. I don’t think we should have an “in Christ” mindset toward unbelievers because they are not in Christ. We should love them and proclaim the gospel to them, etc.

Even John 3:16 is in the context of verses 17 and 18. And remember too that Paul writes, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
(Galatians 6:10 ESV)

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