For every model there is an anti-model. When the Creator speaks so does the serpent, when wisdom shouts, so does folly, when the Spirit influences, the flesh is always nearby. The anti-models at Philippi were within the church, those seeking the benefits of the cross yet living as its enemies. The purpose of the cross is to keep us from living for self.
How refreshing to watch Ashleigh Barty’s demeanour and sportsmanship on display at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championship. Ash’s speech commending her opponent, thanking her team and the crowd, exuded down to earthiness, respect and modesty. Her parents left her coaching to the professionals, ‘all we worried about was trying to raise a respectful young lady’. They have raised a long-awaited model sporting champion.
The value of the model in Christian discipleship cannot be overestimated, God’s purpose is to make his people more and more like the model of his Son ( Romans 8:28-29) and he is working in all things, every day, to do it.
In Philippians Paul talks of the mind or the attitude, being the determining factor in the way we live. Having the model mind will determine the model lifestyle. In Philippians 3:13, Paul says he is a man of a single mind, ‘one thing’. His mind is on the future, on waiting for his Saviour and his heavenly inheritance. He urges the believers to recognise single mindedness as the attitude of maturity (3:14) and to join him, as a fellow imitator of Christ (3:17) for the mind of Christ was a single mind, to do the Father’s will, he said, was his bread and butter (John 4:34). The mind of Christ is emphasised throughout Philippians, and is particularly seen the beautiful summary in 2:5-11.