Becoming Like Christ For The Sake of Others

HUMILITY

 

The word of God, in Philippians 2:5, encourages us to “Have this attitude (mind) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” NASB. This week, we will explore the attitude/mind of Christ which we are to imitate. Our first reflection on the attitude of Christ which should characterize the Christian life is  humility. Christ demonstrated the ultimate act of humility as seen in Philippians 2:6-7. First He did not think being God was something to be grasped at (vs.6) But emptied Himself taking the form of a servant (vs.7).

Jesus also taught and modeled humility during his earthly ministry “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). On the night before death he washed the feet of his disciples; not only modeling humility but teaching them that this was the required attitude they needed to have, ‘but whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant (vs.26).

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The world demands a different standard from people: where there is much hype, pride and boasting in self because of personal achievements, earthly possessions and positions. To borrow a line of a popular song which exemplifies this  “oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way”. Once we have achieved, we sometimes consider it beneath us to perform certain tasks and we rather to be served instead of serving. Consequently, ministers become mini-stars. The apostle Paul boasted about one thing only: that of knowing Christ (Phil. 3: 8). He could have boasted about his Hebrew heritage, his religious status, his obedience to the law, his extensive learning, but for him all those things were rubbish so that he might become like Christ. What was important was to know Christ, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering. Which do we relate to? Do we have the attitude/mind of Christ demonstrating humility.

Prayer: Father, as we reflect today on the attitude/mind of Christ, help us to be obedient to Your word and move beyond all that is causing us to be puffed up with pride and to adopt an attitude of humility, being mindful that  all our earthly resources and status are short-lived and only what we do in service for You will have eternal value.

 

OBEDIENCE 

Philippians  tells us that He (Jesus )was  obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (2:8b). Christ lived a life of complete obedience  When he was 12 years old, He told His mother; ‘I must be about my Father’s business’ (Luke 2:41.) In John 5:30 Jesus responded to the Jewish leaders “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me”. In John 4:34, He said, “My  meat is to do the will of him who sent me”. The call to us as Christians is no different. In the book of Luke, Jesus outlined the requirement for discipleship: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (14:27).” We must be prepared to be obedient to the will and purpose of God even to the point of suffering and death.  Daily, do we declare I must be about my Fathers business; or I seek not to please myself but my Heavenly Father?

Prayer: Father we thank You for entrusting us with Your ministry of reconciliation. Help us to be totally obedient in running  the race that is set before us in Jesus name we pray.

 

 

FORGIVENESS

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” Luke 23:34. Those were the  words of Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross to face death to pay the penalty for our sins. Forgiveness is not always an easy task; especially when we are hurting and we want to hold to unforgiveness. “Of course I was offended!”  But forgiveness is a command and we do so out of obedience, not counting the number of times we exercise forgiveness, even if it is towards a repeat offender.

Jesus’s response to Peter’s question was “…seventy times seven”. Matt 18: 21-22. This means always, and not seven times as Peter alluded to in the same  discourse. Colossians 3:13 instructs us to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.                                    Is there anyone you need to forgive? Choosing to forgive sets us free from anger and bitterness to enjoy peace, love and joy in/of the Lord. Let us choose today to be obedient to the word of God and be of the same mind/attitude as Christ and exercise forgiveness.

Prayer: Father, You have been merciful and have forgiven us unconditionally. Help us not to hold on to resentment and bitterness but to forgive as we have been forgiven; in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

PRAY WITH POWER: CULTIVATING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE OF PRAYER

HERE IS A SUMMARY OF THE MESSAGE SHARED ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, IN OUR MORNING SERVICE ON “THE KIND OF PRAYER THAT GOD PAYS ATTENTION TO.”

Matthew 6:5-13. (THE PATTERN PRAYER, OFTEN CALLED, “THE LORD’S PRAYER”)

Matthew takes us on quite a profound journey. He record Jesus’ prayer, which serves to change our whole perspective on prayer.of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. But before Jesus engaged the content of the prayer His major

point was that prayer that will be effective really begins with a RIGHT it had ATTITUDE; it is an inner posture.

We are first defeated in prayer efforts if our attitude is wrong. More than the content of the prayer, the pattern prayer instructs us on the Attitude we should have as we approach God:

1. UNDERSTANDING/ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WHO GOD IS (Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name). He is Father and He is in a class by Himself (hallowed). This means that He can be trusted. When we know this we are better able to approach Him with a heart that completely trusts.

2. SURRENDER (Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). God’s kingdom is his rule – His rightful claim to our lives and our complete relinquishing of our desires for his will. A life that is unwilling and unprepared to accept God’s rule and  claim to it is a life that is also unprepared for God to be made manifest in it. Surrendering says to God, I am ready for you to manifest yourself in my and in my situation and when God does, we SEE it because it was NOT our will we were anticipating but God’s.

3. TOTAL TRUST (Give us this day our daily bread). A heart that trusts God with even the mundane things. Daily reliance on Him. Israel was tested this way in the wilderness with manna that they were to gather daily (to demonstrate trust that God will provide for tomorrow) and they failed miserably. We must be totally reliant upon him as we approach; not planning how in our own might we can solve our own issues.

4. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WHO I AM: (And forgive us our trespasses). In approaching God in prayer, we must be honest with ourselves before God; willing to acknowledge our faults and to turn from them. So often humble ourselves; we pray; we seek His face but we never quite get to turning around (2 Chronicles 7:14). God requires truth from us; in our inward parts. Honesty IS the best policy even with God.

5. WILLINGNESS TO RELEASE OTHERS (BURDENS) (As we forgive those who trespass against us). If we are going to stand boldly and honest before God in prayer, we have to be willing to release persons that we do not forgive. If we regard iniquity in our hearts (our prayer will be hindered) the Lord will not hear us. Moreover, we often walk around with burdens asking God for strength to carry them when God has offered us the facility of casting ALL of those upon Him.

CULTIVATING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE AS WE APPROACH PRAYER IS THE FIRST AND MOST CRUCIAL STEP TO PRAYER THAT IS IMPACTFUL. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IN PRAYER?

Inspirations from Nehemiah

DAY 1: NEH.1:1-11

Nehemiah had a genuine concern for his fellow Jews back in Jerusalem, so much so that he, not only inquired about them (vs.2-3), but, was moved to tears and to petition God on their behalf (vs.4). He appealed to a covenantal God of love (vs.5) acknowledging his own sinfulness as well as theirs. He pleads on the basis of God’s Promise and Call (vs.8-11) to finish the work He had set out to do in establishing the nation of Israel.
Let us take time today, to reflect on the fact that we live in an area having the most number of churches per square mile in the world (Jamaica), but which has, comparatively, so little impact on society. Are we moved by the state many of the churches are in with so much wrong teaching and ignorance of the Word being promulgated by them? Do we cry out for the many being led astray not by the world but by preaching that does not interpret the Word correctly? As we seek God this morning let us take time to cry out to God for His churches. But let us start first with ourselves, confessing our own neglect of the Word and the effect that has had on our lives. May we be moved from heartfelt emotion to God ward petition.

DAY 2: NEH.2:1-8

Nehemiah in his concern for the state of his fellow Jews doesn’t just pray for them but decides to do something about it by approaching the king with a petition(1:11). By the providence of God that opportunity arises only some 4 months later (2:1-3). Nehemiah in trusting God to move the heart of the king literally puts his life on the line. For him, as a servant, to appear before a Persian king with downcast face could have been considered an act of treason! Crippling fear is a natural response in such circumstances. But Nehemiah in spite of that speaks out with courage born of a trust in and an intimate relationship with his God. Respectful yet tactful, he makes his request known to the king amid silent prayer (vs.4-8). Nehemiah meets success because as he says, ‘the gracious hand of my God was upon me’ (vs.8).

Today, let us face the challenges ahead with prayerful consideration knowing full well that we are His children and walk under the direction of His providence. Bear in mind that He who turned our hearts towards Him is the same One who moves the hearts of all men, high and low. May the gracious hand of our God be upon us.