Greetings Narrow Gate,
I pray everyone is well and healthy. My accident occurred two weeks after this writing.
As I am writing this (10/5), I am trying to figure out what will be happening in a few weeks, regarding the election. I am guessing something wild will happen, unpredictable, surprising, something that sends the political world and the world, into a tizzy. President Trump has just gone home from the hospital. The latest poll came out, stating exactly what it did four years ago on month before the election: Trump is behind by 14%. I am guessing that many of you, from both sides of the political spectrum, are becoming antsy, nervous, maybe even worried. I understand those feelings. I believe the whole world is very concerned about this election.
Worry is always rooted in a fear of some type. The most common fear that we humans have that affects us physically, emotionally and psychologically is the fear of rejection. Many of us (admit it please), have said, "I can't believe someone can vote for that person". I have heard both sides saying this, around me, so I am a witness to hearing this comment many times. But we are not just worried about people agreeing or not agreeing with us, it's about more than that. I get it.
But worry and fear belong to Satan. We spoke about fear back at the beginning of this pandemic. When you fear, do not focus on the fear, focus on the one who will guide you to overcoming your fear: Jesus Christ. So, please join me as we look to Jesus to help us through the angst and worry that so much of the world is going through right now.
Before we begin, have you ever wondered how Jesus did all that he did on the earth as a man, all the while knowing he was going to die on the cross? You may think aloud, "Yes, but he knew that he would then go to heaven to be with His Father".
Now, take this the right way please: we are all going to die. And, IF we know Jesus as our savior we will then go to be with our Father and Jesus (our brother) when we die as well. The same confidence that Jesus had in his Father's love, the same trust that Jesus had in his Father's purpose, the same courage that Jesus showed during his final days is available to each of us. We just need to have Jesus' mindset. We need to have the mind of Christ. You may not know this, but this mind of Christ is available to each and every believer. A portion of the outline today is from my favorite website: GotQuestions.Org. Everything else are my thoughts and gleanings from God's Spirit.
Many believers walk around their whole life without accessing the power of the mind of Christ. Why is this the case? I would venture several thoughts:
* As in the case with Lot's wife, many of us cling to worldly possessions.
* Many of us also cling to false idols that hinder our relationship with God and his Spirit. These false idols can be ideas, as well as, things.
* We may be double-minded (we'll talk about this soon, just not today)
Now, let's pursue some scripture and learn about this mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, NIV unless otherwise noted. This is Paul speaking.
"When I came to you, brothers (and sisters), I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you God's mystery. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling (Paul admitting he was fearful, like us). My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power (capital S, meaning God's Holy Spirit), so that your faith might not rest on (mankind's) wisdom, but on God's power."
This passage, I believe, explains why so many of us are fearful, why so many are worried, why so many are trembling. Our faith is misplaced. Our faith is in people. Biden or Trump, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, capitalist or socialist, CNN or FOX, is your FAITH partially tied up in one of these or some combination of them? Or, is your faith completely in Jesus?
This is what Paul is telling us here in these opening verses. "I resolved to nothing while I was with you except Christ and him crucified." If we do this too, it will help each of us to not place our faith in mankind's wisdom, but instead on God's power. God's power (through his Holy Spirit) helps us to overcome our fear. Paul is testifying that it was not within his own power that he preached. But that when he preached it was a demonstration of the Spirit's power. Paul continues in verses 6-10,
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the (spiritually) mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (This secret wisdom, now no longer hidden is the Good News of Jesus Christ and our eternal salvation). None of the rulers of this age (Paul's time frame, not ours, though many rulers are secular humanists today) understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him--', but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."
The wisdom, now no longer secret, is that God has revealed his purpose in the form of Jesus Christ. The destiny for the world is an eternal destiny, to be spent in loving worship of the Father and the Son. This is revealed, taught, and reinforced lovingly by God's Holy Spirit. The power of God flows through our acceptance and understanding of this teaching.
If you are a Christian Democrat and Trump is elected, you will survive. You lived through the Bush years and Trump's first four years. If you are a Christian Republican and Biden is elected, you will survive. You lived through the Clinton and the Obama years. If you are not a Christian, and your mindset is secular, and your guy loses, well, you are on your own. Even though Jesus is available to you too!
This is why the world wigs out, not because they are right or wrong, but because many are living without Christ. Do not allow them to get you involved in their drama. They are selling it to you. Turn off CNN and FOX. Listen to some music. Read your Bible. Do not go steal a Trump sign. Do not go tear up a Biden sign. Do not put on a helmet and go march in the street to fight. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Paul is encouraging us to also have a relationship with God's Holy Spirit. John 14:26-27,
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
This is important scripture for us to remember. Jesus is teaching us to look for the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. To rephrase this, if we want to know all about Jesus, the Holy Spirit needs to be our teacher. Sure, the Holy Spirit may lead someone else to teach us all things. But that's a maybe. it is our responsibility to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Should we not take up the responsibility in seeking out these teachings from God's Spirit ourselves?
We need to speak to the Spirit, invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, ask the Spirit for guidance, welcome the Holy Spirit into the remote corners of our lives. If we don't, what we are talking about today, the mind of Christ, will be nearly impossible to attain.
Verse 27, I went ahead and included here, I could have left it out. But we began with worry and fear and an election with acrimony and bluster from both sides. But Jesus has left us his peace. Not the world's peace, but his peace, very different from the world's. He tells us this explicitly. Why do you think he said this?
Because his peace for us, comes directly from his redemptive work on the cross. Which many believers, in times of stress and chaos in our lives forget. Which is exactly what the Holy Spirit will be reminding each of us of, as we fret. Tap into the Holy Spirit. Make a concerted effort to invite the Spirit into your life.
Be intentional about you and the Holy Spirit. Don't stumble around (spiritually) and every now and then trip over the Spirit, being blessed in the process. Make it an everyday priority relationship.
If you do this, this next passage of scripture will become easier to understand, 1 Corinthians 2:10b-15,
"The Spirit searches all things (what Jesus told us the Spirit would teach us), even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a person except their spirit (small s, the individual's spirit, not the Holy Spirit). In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words (to spiritual people). The person without the Spirit does not (and I would add: cannot and will not) accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to them, and they cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual believer makes judgments about all things, but they themselves are not subject to any other person's judgment.
The spirit that each human has within, knows their innermost thoughts. Would it not be understandable that God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, then knows the innermost thoughts of God, even the deep things. No one knows these thoughts of God except for his Spirit. This is the Holy Spirit that God is offering to us as our Helper, Counselor and Advocate. All of the Spirit's knowledge of God is available to us freely (in abundance).
This is not anything that is taught on college campuses, but it comes from God's Spirit. You can be on a campus when it is revealed, but God's Spirit still has to be the teacher. Many theological professors on college campuses do not believe in God or the Bible. They make their living trying to disprove the Bible. Therefore, they are not spiritual, they try to understand only by human standards. The Bible to them is just so many words in paragraphs. They have no faith in God's Word.
But those same writings, read by a faithful believer, become wisdom and truth, spiritual wisdom and truth. The Spirit teaches us with spiritual truths in spiritual words. Why? Because we are a spiritual people. We discern all things spiritually. The shallow words of the faithless ring hollow in our hearts. They may move us temporarily, but they don't clang loudly ringing with truth. For this very reason, we are a spiritual people. We know the voice of our shepherd. We know and recognize his Spirit. Let's finish today with 1 Corinthians 2:16,
"Who has known the mind (Spirit) of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
The first sentence here is from Isaiah 40:13. In Isaiah 40:13 an editor's note suggests a translation change of Spirit for mind. Thus equating understanding the mind of the Lord (Christ) with the Spirit of God. For us to understand this mind of Christ we must be led by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit must be our guide on this journey.
Pray this with me now, Holy Spirit you are welcome in and around me always. Guide me, direct me, teach me, show me, please help me to understand God's Word, spiritually. Reside in me, forgive me of sins, refresh and restore me, take away all worries and fears. Heal me inside and out, physically and spiritually. Help me with decision making, light the path that leads to righteousness. Help me daily to pick up my cross and follow Jesus, with gratitude and humility in my heart. Amen.
Well, we're off. We have just approached mind of Christ. Next week we'll dig deep into the mind of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC