This week Norma Jean and I are just south of Birmingham, Alabama, where I’m holding a meeting for the Helena Church.
The church is served by two fine Shepherds Ken Craig and Jim Driskell and two dedicated preachers, Bryan Moody and Joe Hickman, who was a classmate of mine at Florida College back in the late 1960’s. In just two days we’ve enjoyed a wonderful fellowship with these brethren and feel a real connection to their church family.
All of the lessons are based on the theme “Developing the Mind of Christ.” I’m grateful the Shepherds chose this theme because I have not presented this series in a long time and needed to hear them again myself. (Yes, preachers need preaching. And personally profit from the lessons they present.)
The key verse around which the series revolves is Philippians 2:5. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
The word rendered “mind” is translated “attitude” in other versions. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Strong’s says the word means “to entertain, to have a sentiment or opinion, by implication to be (mentally) disposed in a certain direction.” Thayer observes the word means ‘to have understanding, be wise, to feel, to think, to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek or strive for.”
In other passages, the word is actually translated as “think.” “Affection.” “Regard.” And “heart.”
Thus to have the mind of Christ is to develop the attitude of Christ. To think as He thought. To feel as He felt. To act as He acted. To be like Him. And allow our being to grow out of our relationship with Him.
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t always have the attitude of Christ. Sometimes my attitude is selfish and self-serving. My thoughts are not always directed by spiritual concerns. Noble intentions. Or honorable objectives.
When I study the example of Jesus, His attitude was submissive to the will of the Father. It was a surrendered mind. He was selfless. Not self-serving in His ministry, mission, and message. His mindset was focused on serving others. And sacrificing his life for me. And for you.
Having the attitude of Christ, is a lifelong pursuit. It is not something we can say we’ve totally achieved and then move on to something else. It requires constant attention. Continual adjustment. And consistent application.
My attitude is reflected in my preaching and teaching. Is it Christ-centered? Does it exalt Him? And does it lead people to deeper faith, greater love and a higher hope?
My attitude is revealed in my relationships with others. My brethren. My preaching colleagues. My family. My friends. And my wife. How do I talk to them? Treat them? And behave toward them? Am I displaying the attitude of Christ? His golden rule of relationships demands that I treat others the way that I want to be treated (Matt 7:12).
My attitude is exposed in subtle ways. In daily choices. In personal habits. In the books I read. The shows I watch. The music I listen to. My response and reaction to life’s problems. And even the way I comport myself under pressure.
Spiritual success, like material, physical and financial success, depends on my attitude. Christ is the standard. He is our example. His attitude should be the basis for all other qualities to transform my life, mold my mind, and direct my steps.
And so as we stand against the devious devices of the devil and fight the good fight of faith, we must arm ourselves with the attitude of Christ (1 Pet 4:1).
In fact, daily we are challenged to “be renewed in the attitude of (our) minds” (Eph 4:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman