An attitude is a way of thinking, which typically is reflected by our actions. In Philippians 2, we read that we “must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” What a difficult thing to accomplish! How are we to have the same mindset at Jesus? What is Paul trying to say in this verse?
As we continue reading, the Bible talks about Jesus giving up His divine privileges and how He took on flesh. He humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). That’s the attitude we are to share with Christ—humble servant.
Today, consider how you can be a humble servant. Seek out opportunities to serve. Pray for more humility. Ask the Spirit to help you have the same attitude of Jesus.
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” – Philippians 2:5 [NLT]
In Nehemiah 10, the people are agreeing to a covenant. A covenant is something we see many times in the Bible. A covenant is also known as a partnership, an alliance. I always like to consider it as a promise which outlines a relationship’s boundaries. When we look at a covenant between God and His people, we can see that it is a spiritual agreement.
The process of entering into a covenant is interesting. It was something pagans participated in, as well as the Jewish people. First, it is important to note the pre-ceremony actions. This is a time when the different sides discussed terms. We see this happening in Genesis 15 between God and Abraham. There is also a time of representative selections. With regard to the Abrahamic Covenant, God and Abraham were the representatives. During the covenant process, there is typically an exchange of belts, weapons, or robes. Then there is the walk unto death part of the process. This is where the people walk around the sacrifice and basically say, “Do so to me as has been done to this animal if I break this covenant.” We see God doing this with Abraham in Genesis 15:17, as the smoking fire pot and flaming torch pass through. There is a pronouncement of blessings and curses, an exchange of names, and a covenant meal to share as part of the covenant sealing process. We cannot forget the seal of the covenant, where we have a sign of the covenant that will be remembered. For Noah, it was the Rainbow. For Moses, it was the Sabbath.
It is awesome to study about covenants, but it is most important for us to understand these covenants with the vantage point of the New Covenant. Remember friends, we entered into a New Covenant. Jesus is our representative (Son of Man), God’s representative (Son of God), and He was the sacrifice (Lamb of God). He took off His robe of glory to come to us, and we now have His righteousness (Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus’ walk unto death was His walk from Gethsemane to the Cross. The sign of the New Covenant is a circumcised heart (Romans 2:28-29). As you share in the Lord’s Supper, and one day as you share in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, you are sharing the covenant meal. Today, thank God for the New Covenant, and most important, for our Representative and Sacrifice, Jesus Christ.
There are not as many roundabouts in my area as there are overseas; however, there is one on my daily route and I have noticed some problems. Everything flows nicely when people yield as law states; however, when people refuse to yield, there are a lot of near misses. Unfortunately I see my life flash before my eyes frequently. I have considered why this happens so often. The law states that when people are inside the “circle” of the roundabout, others (outside the circle) must yield to those inside the circle. Every entrance to the circle says “YIELD.” Instead, I see people not even slow down at the “yield” area, and enter into the circle when someone (like me) is right there. Slam on brakes. Near miss. Heart pumping out of chest.
Today there is this greater fight for rights. I deserve the very best. I should have the right to go first. I am ENTITLED. I DESERVE. There is this sense of entitlement that causes people to believe they deserve better treatment than others. They should be first. They should get the right of way. They should get whatever they want. They deserve it. Others need to give way. Others need to give in.
Jesus –God on earth in human form—did not walk with a sense of entitlement. He did not say, “Hey, I’m God so I get to eat the first of this fish and bread.” He did not say, “Hey, I’m God so I do not have to pay this fee” or “Hey, I’m God so I shouldn’t have to climb up this hill.” He also didn’t say, “Hey I’m God so I can disrespect others and jump in line.” He didn’t even say, “Hey I’m God so bow down to me right now.” So why, WHY do we do that? Why do we feel we are entitled? Why?
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:5-8 [NIV]
Not long ago, a professor and I were having a discussion about having confidence in the Lord rather than in ourselves. We then moved our thoughts to competitions. Within the discussion, the professor challenged me with 1 Corinthians 9:24, where Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (NASB). This passage is telling us that running is not the same as winning. We need to win the race. We need to finish the race to win. However, it is not a race where there is only one winner. We each can receive our crowns if we finish the race. It is all about running the race to the finish line. As 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (ESV). At the end of the race, it’s all about keeping the faith; it’s all about trusting in God to the finish.
The big problem that we have with running our own race is that which deters us and moves us away from our walk with Christ. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). This passage warns us that there are things that will hinder us in this race. In John Bunyan’s book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” this man name Christian is on his journey to salvation and the Celestial City, only to meet up with a wide array of people who tell him to turn around or try to give him another way to travel. Each person tries to hinder his race, some more purposeful than others. Paul says this in Galatians, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (5:7 NIV).
You see, this race to the finish is not a race where we are competing against others. We are competing against ourselves and our own sin nature. We are to be running forward, trusting God, running in the way of Christ, obeying the Truth. There are many runners on the course with us, some running right alongside us, others trying to get us to turn around, others falling asleep on the course, and others trying to get us to attempt taking a “short cut” which really isn’t a short cut to the finish line, but a derailment. Then there are those runners who make it a competition in hopes of getting a better position in heaven or to draw attention to themselves here on earth, and these runners have somewhat derailed themselves too.
Philippians 2:6 of the NLT says, “Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Paul encourages us to follow the Word of God, to run the race that is set before us as Christ ran the race, following the Word of God. So keep running. Keep following the course set before us. Many will try to hinder us whether purposely or not, but if we cling to the Word of God and trust in Him who is faithful, we will have victory.