Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Dog Days Duets series. I pray that these weekly selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Philippians 2:1-4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Just a few verses after today’s reading, Paul more or less sums up the reading for today with this challenge: “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.” That’s the Common English Bible translation. The New Revised Standard Version says, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” Let that admonition sink in for a moment: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
This has immense implications for the Christian spiritual life. But, how can we know the mind of Christ Jesus? Paul made it pretty clear what he meant. He wrote to the Philippians that they would make his joy complete if they had unity of mind, heart, and soul, humbly counting others more important than themselves and putting the interest of others ahead of their own—in a word, if they thought and acted as Jesus Christ did.
Christians throughout the centuries have not assumed that having the mind or the attitude of Christ would happen automatically. To be sure, when we open our lives and invite God in, the living Christ, the Spirit, makes his dwelling in us, so that our lives become more Christ-centered or God-centered. But, to have the mind of Christ, to have the attitude of Christ, takes some time studying and pondering the Jesus story.
Entering into the story of Jesus we find in the gospels and the words about Jesus we find in the rest of the New Testament help to mold and shape our attitudes to be more Christ-like.
We currently live in a culture and in a time that has made bestsellers of the books Looking Out for Number One and Winning through Intimidation. Even Christians seem to have a hard time with the idea of becoming a servant or humbling ourselves, even though those things typify the mind of Christ Jesus.
Here’s the prevailing message of our culture: Not the meek, as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, but the proud and aggressive inherit the earth. Not humble, but prideful and pushy people get ahead. Not selfless servants, but self-centered bullies rule the day. Is that who we are becoming?
It is over against this prevailing attitude that Paul’s words challenge us to be different and in being different to be instruments of peace and instruments of life-giving transformation.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster