1 Peter 3:8 ESV
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
Unity of Mind
This unity of mind being spoken of here is first and foremost unity of mind with Jesus Christ, and then it is unity with others who are also likeminded with Christ. This won’t include everyone who says he is a believer in Jesus, for not everyone who says he believes in Jesus truly does, and not all who believe in Jesus are genuinely of unity of mind with Christ.
Many who profess the name of Jesus are united in mind with the world and with the worldly state church, but not with Christ, and not with the body of Christ who are of the same mind as Christ. So, they may try to guilt-trip you into uniting with them, but don’t be pressured into uniting with the mind of the flesh. Remain of one mind with Christ.
For those with the mind of the flesh are drawn to what is of the flesh, not to what is of the Spirit, for what is of the Spirit is foolishness to them. So, they may unite themselves with others who call themselves Christians, or with the state church, which is united with the world and big business, but that doesn’t mean they are following this directive.
For to be united in mind with Christ is to submit to him as Lord. It is to surrender our lives to him, to forsake our sinful lifestyles, and it is to follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). It is to walk in his ways and in his truth and to not have divided loyalties that pull us away from him.
It is to believe what Jesus and the Scriptures teach us, and it is to do what the Scriptures teach the body of Christ, the Lord’s saints. It is to feel what God feels, to have his passions and desires, and it is to have the same goals and objectives as our Lord has for us, his people.
So, if we are truly united with Christ in mind, then we should be united in mind with other believers who are unified with Christ. If we are not, then something is amiss. So, first we should examine our own hearts to make certain we are not the ones causing the disunity, and then we work toward that unity by submitting to the Lord and by following him in his ways.
Brotherly love is the love that Christians are to have for one another. It is the love of Christ, it is godlike love, it is moral, it is good, and it does no harm to its neighbor. It, too, is honest, trustworthy, unselfish, giving, and considerate of others.
This kind of love has the best interest of others in mind. It wants God’s best for others. It will say and do what is pleasing to God, not necessarily what is pleasing to humans, and it will say and do what is for the welfare of other people, not necessarily what is going to make them feel good about us.
This love is compassionate and tenderhearted towards others, but it isn’t soft on sin nor does it coddle people in their sin. Instead it exhorts and encourages fellow believers with the teachings of Scripture, and with what is of God, and with songs or poems or words that give glory to God.
So, if we love our fellow Christians with this kind of love we are not going to be hateful or nasty to them. We are not going to tempt them to sin against God. We are not going to mock them for following the Lord in obedience, either. But we will encourage them in their walks of faith and obedience to the Lord with the hope that they will not fall into sin.
But this is also about caring about their physical needs, too. If we know of a brother or sister who is in real need, then we need to pray how we can help meet those needs. We need to be discerning of what are real needs, though, for there are people who know how to manipulate people with tender hearts.
There are people who call themselves Christians who make it their practice to lie to others and to take advantage of them and to prey on the naïve and the trusting who are compassionate and generous. So, I believe one of the duties of deacons is to make certain that people truly are in need. So, be discerning, pray, and then give as God leads you to give.
1 Peter 3:9 ESV
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
We are all humans. Yes, we are saved by God’s grace, delivered from our slavery to sin so we can walk in Christ’s righteousness, and we have the Holy Spirit living within us, but we still live in flesh bodies. We are still tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin against God.
The Lord has delivered us from the power and control of Satan and sin, but we must daily, by the Spirit, be putting sin to death. Daily we must surrender our lives to Jesus and say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the power of God’s Spirit.
But since we still live in flesh bodies, and the flesh is at war with the Spirit, and the Spirit is at war with the flesh, when others injure us, which they will, we must guard our hearts against responding in the flesh, but we must pray, and we must yield to the Holy Spirit and respond in the Spirit, instead.
Yes, the flesh may want to get even. Some people are more wired that way than others, I have learned. So, if we are tempted that direction, it would be good to take a self-examination, looking at where we have come from and what all God forgave us for. It should put things in the proper perspective.
If Jesus could forgive all our sins, and he is totally sinless, how can we who are mere mortals refuse to forgive those who sin against us? It is the Lord’s job to repay, not ours. It is our job to forgive, to love, to show mercy, and to pray for and do good to our enemies, and to do and to say what will be for the welfare of others, even including those who have wronged us.
So, we need the Lord to keep teaching us how to love others and how to forgive, for we are called to love others with His love. And we need to be those who demonstrate the love of God to others, especially to our fellow Christians, because of God’s love for us, and because it is the right thing to do, and for the sake of our testimonies for Christ and for his gospel.
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.