Saturday, June 4, 2011

One Mind


1 Corinthians 2

16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Believers in the Church at Corinth that they should not argue and be divided over the simple and common problems which often destroy relationships in this world. He told them that more was expected of them than of others who did not know the salvation which comes through Christ. He further told them that they had received the Spirit of God and were no longer mere humans but rather they were super empowered to think, feel and act differently – above the carnal frustrations of the old nature.

In this letter to the Church at Corinth as well as in other letters to other Churches, Paul attempted to awaken Believers to their new spiritual duties and responsibilities of life as Children of the Most High God. You see:

God has a history of joining people together in relationship for what they can give to the relationship, not for what they can receive.

The Apostle Paul further told the Christian that God had given them a new mind – the mind of Christ. In effect, every Believer in Jesus was admonished to think, feel and act the same way – like Jesus!

Philippians 2

1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,

2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Many years ago I was told a story about two old men who lived in a small southern town. They had worked their years and were enjoying their retirement by mostly just sitting on the front porch of a local general store facing the main street which ran through their little rural community and talking while they watched the cars drive by.

It happened one morning that a young family drove through town and stopped outside the general store. After getting something refreshing to quench their thirst, the husband and wife stopped to talk to these two old men while the children played on a swing under the big oak tree which stood beside the quiet road.

“What kind of people live in this town?”, asked the young man. “You see,” the woman interrupted, “We were forced to change jobs and are looking for a place to relocate our family.”

“Well”, said one of the old men, “Tell me, what kind of people lived in the town you’re moving from?”

“Oh,” they both replied, “The people in that town are very unfriendly, they don’t get to know their neighbors, they won’t even say hello when they see you on the street, their selfish, unkind, and down right rude … we can’t wait to get away from that town and those people.”

“I’m sorry,” remarked the other old man, “but I’m afraid that that’s the very same kind of people you will find living here in this town.” With that, the couple sighed and gathered their children and drove on to the next town looking for the kind of place they wanted to raise their family.

It wasn’t too long before another car drove through the little town and right up to that same general store, since it was the only one on the main road, and a young family got out and went into the store. On their way out, one of them asked the old gentlemen sitting there rocking, “Can you tell me, what kind of people live here in this town? You see, we lost our job and need to move and thought we would look for a place to raise our children.”

“Well”, expressed one of the men, “What kind of people live in the city you are moving from?”

“Oh”, they both exclaimed, “You couldn’t find a better people; they are kind and considerate; everybody is friendly and the neighbors go out of their way to help one another. We really don’t want to move but we are being forced to do something so we can take care of our family.”

“You’re in luck”, said the other old man, “That’s exactly the kind of people you will find living here in this town.” With that the young couple smiled and gathered their children into the car for a closer look at the opportunities that awaited them.

What’s the moral of this story? First: You often get what you’re expecting; and Second: You often get exactly what you give.

In other words, as the Apostle Paul said to the Church in Galatians:

We reap what we sow.

I have observed a phenomenon in life: Some people seem to be surrounded by losers – at least that’s how they feel. But on closer observation, I have often found that to be their own fault.

You see:

* If we never allow others around us to win, we will be surrounded by losers.

* If you never allow your children to win, you may raise losers.

* If you never let your spouse win, you will always be married to a loser.

* If you refuse to help your employees win, you will only ever employ losers.

Philippians 2

4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

It is true that you may never get what you want unless someone gives it to you. However, it is also true that others may never get what they deserve and what they need unless you are willing to give it to them.

Take that little girl who dreams of a knight in shinning armor coming to rescue her to take her away to his palace. Some time back I realized that one little girl would never have her dream unless I became that noble knight sworn to pledge my life for her dream. And, I have found that while I am busy making my wife’s dreams come true, she is busy working to make my life all I ever hoped it would be.

Imagine that little boy or little girl who will never know a loving and caring mother and father unless you determine to be what they need.

If you show me where you spend your time, I can show you what you value. Life is time … and … what you give your life for is what is most important to you – no matter what you say – what you value most will enjoy the most of your time.

When it’s all said and done, all God will have left is family. Family is what is most important to God and family is where God spends His time and gives His life. A father or mother or grandparent does not play baseball in the back yard or go to kids museums because that’s where they have always wanted to spend a Saturday. They go so they can invest their life in their family.

Where we spend our time, especially our quality time, consistently – is what we value most.

I have never attended one person who on their death bed said: “I wish I had just spent one more hour at the office.” Rather, the sad truth is, most weep wishing they could have but one more chance at their marriage or at raising their family or telling their parents or siblings how much they meant to them.

Philippians 2

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

As Believers in Jesus, we must not quarrel over petty differences, divide over carnal opinions, envy one another, and be jealous or unkind. We have the mind of Christ and should walk in peace and unity with our brothers and sisters who also have been given the Spirit of our God.

Can you hear and accept what the Apostle Paul is saying to the Believer in Christ? Will you let the mind of Christ replace your carnal frustrations, philosophies and priorities of life? Won’t you turn from your own path and begin living a new way today … all it takes is one decision and the Holy Spirit will guide your every step.