Thursday, July 10, 2014

Called Out...In One Mind (2 of 2)

In Part 1, the idea of worship wars was criticized because the argument is more about our preferences than true worship. Although none of us may be able to perfectly set aside all preferences for the sake of worship or service, we have been given an example - by Christ - for what it means to truly have a mind like His.

Having a mind like Christ means not insisting on our way (Philippians 2.5-6). At the end of Philippians 1, Paul appeals with his readers to let their life be worthy of Christ. Having the mind of Christ would certainly make us worthy. What does this look like? Well, not working from a position of rivalry or conceit is a good start. But considering what others need is important as well.

Isn't this what Jesus did?  Jesus didn't look at the plight of humanity and say – well, I'm God, so let them figure it out. Despite being the "form of God" (some translations say “very nature of God”, Jesus – as God – was willing to give up everything because He didn't let His status get in the way of what needed to be done. In fact, it was because of His status – as God – that He was the only one capable of doing what needed to be done. But He still had to choose to do it. And He did. He didn't insist on His way because of the plight of man. What was that plight? That we, as humans, make ourselves equal with God by choosing our way instead of His. Its called sin. Isn't this ironic? It is our desire to control our life that created the need for Jesus to give up control of His. Such an act is truly an act of love, and epitomizes putting the needs of others ahead of self.

Secondly, having a mind like Christ means looking out for others (Philippians 2.7-8). The important thing here is that the attitude of Jesus led to action. I know there are times when I think  I should do something, but I don't. Perhaps I literally cannot do it, but usually there is something I can do...I just must choose to do so. And Jesus did make that choice.

  • He made Himself nothing.  This does not mean He ceased to exist, but rather God became human (nothing in comparison). Another contrast is found in this text - “taking the form of a servant” (the master became slave). This statement shows a paradox – not only what He has done, but what He values. The world says from rags to riches. Jesus came from riches to rags. The world says man will become God. Jesus, as God, humbled Himself to become man.
  • He humbled Himself. He was obedient to the Father even to the point of death. A great verse in the Bible is Acts 3.15, when Peter makes the charge to the Pharisees that “you killed the Author of Life.” This is such an awesome thought. But the "you" truly includes the "we". We did it too. The Pharisees may have been the ones shouting at the Romans, but it was our sin that required it. Yet, He, the Author of Life, the Creator of the universe, allowed Himself to hang naked on a cross that you and I might live forever with Him. That is truly looking out for others.

Finally, having a mind like Christ means we allow God to honor us, not others (vv. 9-11). Jesus received very different rewards for His coming to earth, taking on the nature of humanity, making Himself humble and being a servant? The reward from humans was to kill Him. But the reward from God was that Jesus was highly exalted and given a name above all other names. Why did God honor Him? Because He was obedient. When did God honor Him? After His obedience – after His death. God can show honor and favor to us during this lifetime. But the better honor comes later.

Of course, we are not Jesus and will not have our name elevated as such. Nor should we. So, what do we take from this? We take the queue from our lead – Christ, the head of the Church, and thus our head. We are to be servants like Christ. We are to have His mind (attitude). Like Jesus, we should:

  • not insist on our own way.
  • look out for others.
  • allow God to honor us, not worrying about the commendation or condemnation of others.

As members of Christ's church, we do not have to give up our preferences. But sometimes we must set them aside for the community (common-unity). In order to properly worship and serve our Lord, we might also consider the words of John, the baptizer. About John, Jesus said that there is no one born of women that is greater than John (Luke 7.28). Yet, John the apostle wrote in John 3.30, that John the baptizer said of Jesus, “He must increase, I must decrease.”

May each person who reads this be a church member who exhibits the words of John, but more importantly the qualities of Jesus.

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