Let This Mind Be In You

James M. S. Tait, Lerwick

Nothing that life does to a man is as important as that which he does with himself. It will therefore be for our profit to consider what our Lord was tempted to do with Himself, and what in fact He did do.

1. If Thou be the Son of God, “cast thyself down” was the suggestion of the devil, Matt. 4. 6. But conversely, what the Lord did is stated in Philippians 2. 7, “he emptied himself”, R.V. There is a complete difference between presumptuously casting oneself down and humbly stepping down. The first was what Satan did at his fall; the second was what Christ did at His incarnation.

2. If Thou do these things, “show thyself”, John 7. 4. The counsel of the Lord’s brethren was the dictate of worldly wisdom. No man in the flesh who had anything to show off would fail to show it to “the world”. But this Man was different. Being found in fashion as a man, “he humbled himself”, Phil. 2. 8. The Spirit’s comment is, "Let this mind be in you”, v. 5.

3. “Pity thyself”, Matt. 16. 22 marg. These words came through the affectionate Peter, but the Lord recognised the voice of Satan. The same tempter who in chapter 4 had recommended self-display and reckless temerity, now recommends unworthy avoidance of danger and suffering. In our own case, we need not be surprised if after resisting temptation to one excess, we find ourselves assailed with a temptation to go to the other extreme; such was the Lord’s own experience. However, He did not pity Himself, rather He “offered himself”, Heb. 9. 14. The temptation was to self-preservation; but the whole bent of His life was towards self-sacrifice.

4. If Thou be the King of the Jews, “save thyself”, Luke 23. 37. Three times in this chapter, as He hung upon the cross, was this temptation presented to Him, first by the rulers, v. 35, then by the soldiers, v. 37, and finally by the impenitent robber, v. 39. But He did not save Himself; the Scriptures testify that He gave Himself, Gal. 2. 20. Even as we worship at the thought that He “gave himself for me”, we can hear the challenge of His own statement, “whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it”, Luke 9. 24.