One Mind 

Romans 15:5-6
“Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

imageThis chapter contains many prayers of which this is the first. Paul is praying that the church might be like-minded, or rather, have one mind. As we look at the church today we see it is anything but one-minded. Worship styles vary from rock bands to congregational hymns; some churches meet in traditional buildings, while others meet in schools, parks or store fronts. Doctrinally, some churches are Calvinistic, Arminian, or somewhere in between. We have pre-, post- and mid-tribulation teachings, and there are even different views on how to perform a baptism.

Individual Christians, within the same church, also have a wide variety of opinions. From week to week, one thinks the worship or sermon was excellent, while another complains about the length, delivery or content. Who is right? If Paul is exhorting us to have the same mind, which mind should we have? I suggest to you, Paul is not instructing every Christian to have my mind or yours, but to have the mind of Christ. Writing to the Philippian church Paul said,

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, . . .” Philippians 2:5

The mind we must develop is the mind that was in Christ; a mind-set that sought above all else, to be pleasing to the Father. “For even Christ did not please Himself…” (Romans 15:3). Practically, this was worked out as He lived for the things that please God, and exalted others above Himself. As we follow the life of Christ, we read of the needs of others being placed above His own. We know of times where He was hungry and tired, but that never stopped Him from investing in the lives of those around Him. The sick, weak, hurting, and unloved, all found a place of honor when they came into contact with Christ.

When I filter my thinking toward God and others, with the way Christ lived, I will find I am developing His mind. It is seen in laying aside the sinful things in life, placing the needs of others above my own, and seeking to please God above all else. Notice this is a commission given to every believer. It is not for a select few. Every Christian must live life by thinking of God and others, the way Christ did.

Pastor Jim

 

Greatness 

Psalm 75:6-7
“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”

Things in the kingdom of God run very differently than they do in the kingdoms of men. This is particularly true of exaltation. The word exalted means “to raise in rank or power, to be elevated or lifted above.” What exaltation is, and how to achieve it, are different in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus declared, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave” Matthew 20:25-27

The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the one who serves. That does not mean if we serve we will be exalted to a place above serving, but when we serve, we are in the highest place. Servanthood is not a means to greatness, it is greatness. Paul wrote to the Philippians that we should, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but with lowliness of mind we should esteem others higher than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3). One of the driving factors behind selfish ambition is a failure to recognize that exaltation comes from the Lord. We see others push their way to the front and we think the only way to get ahead is to push and push hard.

Jacob was a man who struggled to understand that exaltation comes from the Lord. At birth, he was given promises that he would be exalted, and would inherit the promises of his father Abraham. Instead of walking in the ways of the Lord, and trusting in the promises of God, Jacob spent his life pushing to the front. It was not until he surrendered to the ways of God that he benefitted from the promises.

Instead of striving, pushing, manipulating, and worrying, why not sit quietly before the Lord, laying your needs before Him. When we learn to humble ourselves, then we will find true exaltation.

Pastor Jim