by Heath Firkin
After our discussion of the readings for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (Galatians 2:16–20; Luke 8:5–15), together, as a church, I have continued to ponder the phrase “thinking according to Christ” or, more literally, “to think within yourselves as Christ Jesus does” (Philippians 2:4). While this phrase does not appear in the prescribed texts, it came up several times in our discussion. My reflection focuses on the following question: What would people’s life look like if they truly “thought according to Christ”?
The first thought that comes to my mind is humility. People would have to repent willingly (or rather change their mind; see Matthew 4:17) and humbly accept that they do not know how to live truly—and that they need Christ to help, to teach and to guide them. Once people acknowledge their need for Christ, which is a sign of humility, they are in a position to allow Christ to start deconstructing their old ways of thinking and behaving, they responding accordingly. This would lead to further changes—to repentance and confession—as people remove the weeds from their heart in order to rediscover, to nurture and to develop the virtues. This would be an ongoing process of “weeding” and tending to the soil of one’s heart as people come to know themselves truly, in the light of who Christ is.
Once people have begun the process of changing, by God’s grace, striving to acquire the mind of Christ, they begin to think “according to Christ” and to behave/live “according to Christ.” This change will become manifest in many different ways in a person’s everyday life. For example, those who have a family might find themselves able to display more patience and forbearance with their loved ones. They may become more willing to sacrifice their time for the sake of other members. In turn, those who attend a workplace my develop a capacity to acknowledge their colleagues truly, to listen with care when they share something that is important to them. Furthermore, they could likely become more honest and diligent with the tasks assigned to them, knowing that they are seeking to please Christ in the way that they work and represent Him. Above all, the people who “think according to Christ” will likely develop love and care for those outside their immediate social circle. They will gladly pray for others in the world, especially for those who experience various forms of suffering, hardship or loss, no matter who they are and what their convictions might be. So transformed, people will start to see all other people as Christ does, as objects of His love. Very likely, this way of seeing would also extend to all life in general, including the animals and plants that share the world with us.
To think according to Christ… What a generous invitation on the Lord’s part, what a challenging and exciting opportunity, what an amazing life to be lived… Lord have mercy on us, help us and save us!
Heath Firkin is a a convert to the Orthodox Church and a member of Saint Gregory’s Orthodox Mission (the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Australia and New Zealand). He tries to be a follower of Christ since he was 21 years old. He is blessed to be a husband and father of three children. He works for a Disability Service Provider based in Sydney.
Acknowledgment: Photo of members of Saint Gregory’s, by Otilia Costache. 16 April 2023
18 October 2023 © AIOCS
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