Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Let This Mind Be in You

     Some people (like my husband) have a hard time making a decision.  It is not that he is incapable of doing so, but he likes to chew on ideas before making any move.  Other people (that would be me) like to jump into things before I have considered all the aspects.  At times, I regret this, and at other times, I am glad I made a bold move without hesitating.  When we married, our two mindsets collided.  I wanted quick, definitive decisions, and he just wanted time to meditate before moving.  It has been an interesting journey for us both but one I would never change because in the long run we are both striving to have the mind of Christ in our marriage and individual lives.  This means we must learn from Christ just how to walk in wisdom by the Holy Spirit rather than making decisions based on every fact known to man (my dear hubby) or jumping into the pool before checking to see if there is any water in it (that would be me).  Looking into scripture, we get some answers.
     In his letter to the believers at Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these words:  "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:5-11).  This is our starting place for examining the mind of Christ.  Lets break it down.
     Within the first verse of this passage, we come to understand that Jesus did not cling to His privileges.  While He was, indeed, God, He was also fully man.  He purposely laid aside any advantages He had in order to humble Himself and become like a servant.  In conversation with His disciples, Jesus frequently reminded them that if any one of them truly wanted to be great, he must be a servant to all.   Jesus never ceased to be God, but He emptied Himself relinquishing heavenly status so that He might come and bring us salvation along with an example of how to live.  For us to have the mind of Christ, we must be willing to do the same.  Serving others, putting aside our comforts so that we might help others and reaching out to help the less fortunate are ways we can have the mind of Christ.  It takes practice because we often have too great an opinion of ourselves and our abilities.  Our Lord was decisive but studied in all He attempted to do.  He took time to humble Himself in prayer before taking any action so He could honestly say He only did what the Father had told Him to do.  Can we say that of our activities?  Our decisions?
     A second characteristic of the mind of Christ is obedience.  Not only was Christ lowly in heart, He also followed the Father's commandments perfectly.  There was never a time when  Jesus sinned (2 Cor. 5:21).  His submission to the Father's will had no flaws.  Even in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus knew He would face unbearable agony of body and soul, He told His heavenly Father "...if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42).  This is what submission looks like.  Here is the mind of Christ.  He laid aside His equality with the Father to be a completely obedient Son.  He restored what the first Adam lost in terms of His unqualified surrender to the Almighty Father.  What an example of love for us.
     In closing his thoughts about the mind of Christ, Paul writes that God was pleased to exalt Him and give Him the name above all names.  Why?  Because Jesus fulfilled His mission as our perfect sacrifice having no spot wrinkle or blemish in His thinking or actions.  Unlike those of us who are indecisive because we have either a) not asked God for wisdom or b) never looked into the Word of Truth;  or those of us who make decisions on the fly like Peter drawing a sword to lop off the ear of the high priest's servant, Jesus kept His perspective.  He fulfilled humbly the call of God and let nothing sway Him or get Him off track.  Likewise, He remained fully obedient to His Father.  Oh how I wish I could say this about my mind!
     Here is the truth, though, dear friends.  We cannot have the mind of Christ unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us moment by moment.  This should come as no surprise to us.  We have a mind often guided by the flesh rather than the Spirit of God.  While we may have good intentions, we often get off the track.  However, God is at work in us to conform us to His dear Son by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  We are to test things so we can discern God's will for our lives.  If we are faithful, He will direct our steps.  The first place to begin is in prayer so that we might hear from the Lord what He wants for our lives.  Additionally, the Bible is like a road map for us to follow in decision making.  We need both of these elements to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but the important thing is to begin this process.
     Neither my husband nor I will completely attain this worthy goal.  He will work at becoming more decisive and I will stop trying to act like a bull in a china shop when it comes to decisions.  What we both need is balance, and I believe that is what we are working towards as we follow Christ.  May each of us daily put on the mind of Christ and understand that humility and obedience lead to God's blessings.  Selah!

What are your thoughts on this important subject?  I welcome your comments here.


Diana Lovegrove said...

I'm very much like your husband and dislike having to make decisions! Why can't I go to the shop and just buy a loaf of bread, why so many choices? :) But yes, you are so right about needing to have humility and obedience.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thanks Diana. Its so funny. I always have my husband read my devotions and give his opinion before I send them into blogdom. He told me last night that I better be careful what I say about him and then, he chuckled. He knows he has a hard time deciding things. I, as you already read, have the opposite problem. The key is hitting a balance through Christ. Still working on that one my friend! Thanks so much for stopping by. Love to visit your blog too! You always share from the heart!

Penned Pebbles said...

Great post! How wonderful and glorious that God knows exactly what we need, even if we don't. I've learned so far that God wants me to have a high opinion of Christ and not of myself, and He will use many humbling reminders. We can't take this journey by ourselves, not even with the best of husbands. We need His help to fulfill His will and word for us! Blessings!

Barbara Thayer said...

Amen Petra. With our minds fixed on Christ, we will be able to walk through this world with His grace to guide us. I have a lot of renewing work to do in His Word...but it is not burdensome! I want the mind of Christ!!! Blessings dear sister!