Is the goal of being likeminded with other Christians even realistic? If we think about all the church denominations and all the various doctrines and theologies and practices which are out there, is it even possible that we could all be of one mind, united in spirit?
I mean, there are those who believe water baptism is essential for salvation, and there are those who believe not in this. There are those who believe in OSAS, and there are those who are certain this is not true. And, there are those who believe tongues is THE evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and there are those who think not. And, the list goes on and on.
So, who is right and who is wrong? Which way of thinking are we all supposed to be like? Who sets the standard of what is right theology?
The Lord Jesus led me to read Philippians 2:1-8 (NASB).
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Vv. 1-2
Well, the obvious answer to the question posed above this scripture is God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His is the mind we are to be like. He is the one after which we are to pattern our beliefs, doctrines, theologies and practices. And, yes, I know, we all have differing ideas of what that looks like, which is why we have all these divisions in the church. So, what do we do?
When I was a young woman in my 20’s, I had a pastor who was a great expositor of the scriptures. He was a godly man who taught holiness and righteousness and the fear of the Lord. I learned so much from his teaching, but one of the most profound things he taught me was to go into the Word of God fresh, with my heart willing to hear from the Lord whatever he wanted to teach me, and to not go into the Word with preconceived notions about what it said or with my mind already made up. I was just to let God speak to my heart, and He did! Boy, did he!
As I took this approach to scripture, I had to unlearn so many things I was taught by other humans who had taken scriptures out of context to make them say what they wanted them to say, but not in the context in which they were written. This is how we get so many varied doctrines, because people take scriptures out of the context in which they were written and they build entire theologies around them, which fit with the way they want to believe. But, this is not to say that I have everything right, either.
So, we need to take this approach to scripture, and we need to pray to the Lord to speak God’s truths to our hearts. If we are challenged in our faith, then we should search the scriptures and pray that God will lead us to truth. And, then, we must obey the truth we know. We also must test everything we read, hear or see in prayer, asking God to reveal to us what is truth and what is lies, and test, too, all teachings against the scriptures to make certain that what is being taught is God’s truth, and not man’s truth.
I believe we also have so many differences in beliefs, because so many people are followers of man – which includes following denominations – more than they are followers of God/Christ. And, so they end up following a denomination rather than Christ, who is the head of his body. And, so they have the mind of men, and not of Christ, or a mixture of both, and this makes it very difficult, then, for all of us who follow Christ to be likeminded.
So, we do really have to be diligent in making certain that what we are being taught is truth according to Jesus Christ and his Word, remembering that, as followers of Christ, we are to follow after the teachings of the New Covenant.
If we are to be likeminded with other Christians, we have to first of all be likeminded with Christ. The “same love” we are supposed to have is God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, i.e. what is righteous, holy, and upright. The same purpose we are to have is God’s purpose, according to what is written in his Word. And, the same mind is the mind of Christ, which is revealed to us also in scripture. But, if we are in Christ, by faith in him, and his Spirit lives within us, then we have the mind of Christ also within us.
So, since the Holy Spirit dwells within those of us who have trusted in Christ as our Savior, we also have the Word living within us. And, the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, but we have to be listening, and then we have to obey what he says. The biggest drawback for most Christians, I believe, in knowing and understanding what God has for them is not that they don’t know, or that they don’t have access to that knowledge, but that they are not willing to act on what they do know and follow it with obedience.
But, if we are in tune to the Spirit’s voice, and we are walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and we are walking in the light that we do have, I believe we will begin to understand more and more, not just intellectually, but in reality, the mind and heart of Christ. And, then, if we unite with God’s heart and mind, and we follow in his ways, then we will also be likeminded with other believers who are also likeminded with Christ.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Vv. 3-8
So, this is what we should all be like. We should have the same attitude, mind, and thinking of Jesus Christ. Even though he was God the Son, he left his throne in heaven, came to earth, humbled himself, took on the likeness of man, and became obedient to death on a cross for you and for me.
So, why did he do this? Because we were all born into sin, with sin natures, separate from God, and unable to attain God’s acceptance, i.e. his divine approval, in our own flesh. Thus, we were destined to live our lives on this earth without hope and without the life of God in us, and without the promise of eternal life with God.
So, Jesus gave his life up for us so that we could be saved from our sins, be delivered from our bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin, and be set free to now walk in his holiness and righteousness. He didn’t come just to free us from sin, but to give us new life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. He came to give us abundant life in the Spirit of God, that we might walk in his ways and in his truth all of our days.
So, when we are Christ-like in mind, in heart, and in attitude and actions, we will empty ourselves of what is selfish (deny self), and we will consider the legitimate needs of others above our own. And, we will reach out to meet those needs in the power of the Spirit living within us, and as directed by the Holy Spirit. Our lives will be committed to Christ and his kingdom work, and we won’t be focused on just doing what brings pleasure to ourselves.
To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture
Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.
Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.
Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!
When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 4:21 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. May we all be Christ-like in all that we do.