In Romans 12:16, the apostle Paul writes, “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (NKJV).
The expression same mind does not mean that Christians should have identical opinions and views. Rather, it means that we should have the same mind as Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7, ESV).
The Greek word for “emptied” in Philippians 2:7 is a form of keno, from which we get the word kenosis. Christ did not empty Himself of divinity (see John 1:14 and Colossians 2:9). Instead, He laid aside the privileges and glory that were His in heaven and “made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7) by occupying the position of a slave. Hence, the voluntary condescension of Christ was a self-renunciation rather than a divestment of divinity.
The humiliation of Christ is evident throughout the New Testament:
• Incarnation: The very act of Jesus assuming human flesh and dwelling among us showcases His humility. Who would willingly leave the glory of heaven to enter a world marred by sin, pain, and suffering? He did not do it for Himself. No, He did it to “give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, ESV).
• Servant Leadership: Jesus consistently prioritized the needs of others above His own. For instance, He washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1–17), an act that signifies our participation in His mission of sacrificial love and service to one another.
• Teaching on Humility: Jesus taught His followers about the importance of humility. For example, in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus declared that the tax collector’s humble prayer was more effective than the self-righteous prayer of the Pharisee (Luke 18:9–14).
Christ demonstrated that true greatness is found in humility, selflessness, and sacrificial love. As Christians, we are called to imitate His humility, counting others as more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3, ESV). This is what it means to be of the same mind.
Romans 12:9–21 offers additional insight into what it means to have same mind:
• Believers should have genuine love for one another. We should also despise what is evil and cling to what is good (verse 9).
• Believers should love one another like a family, exhibiting brotherly and sisterly affection. We should also try to outdo one another in showing honor (verse 10).
• Believers should be enthusiastic about serving the Lord (verse 11).
• Believers should be joyful, hopeful, patient, and prayerful (verse 12).
• Believers should be generous and hospitable toward one another (verse 13).
• Believers should bless those who persecute them (verse 14).
• Believers should participate in the joys and sorrows of others (verse 15).
• Believers should live in harmony with one another and avoid being proud or haughty (verse 16).
• Believers should not return evil for evil. Instead, we should return evil for good (verse 17).
• Believers should strive for peace with everyone, if possible (verse 18).
• Believers should not take matters of vengeance into their own hands. Instead, we should trust that the Lord will deal with our enemies appropriately (verse 19).
• Believers should respond to enemies with acts of kindness, allowing God to use our generous deeds to bring conviction to our enemies (verse 20).
• Finally, believers should not “be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (verse 21).
In conclusion, to be of the same mind is to have a spirit of unity, peace, and harmony among believers. We should remember that, if Christ laid down His life for us, then we should do the same for one another (John 15:13).