“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). What a passage of scripture- what a promise from God! Fear is common to humanity; it’s a reality of life in this world. Yet God’s word repeatedly admonishes against fear, encourages us to not be fearful, assures us that we need not fear, as long as we walk faithfully with God.
The news media has been filled with reports of the untimely death of yet another celebrity icon. The cause of death was initially unconfirmed, and determination of possible contributing factors might not be known for some weeks. However, a lifestyle of drugs, and possible addiction, appeared to be common knowledge.
Do you matter? Many people feel that, in the greater scheme of things, they do not matter. In some cases, such a mindset is the result of depression. For some people, low self-esteem convinces them that they do not matter. There are those who want to make a difference but feel helpless and, in frustration, declare that they just don’t matter. Others want to escape responsibility for having to do anything, so they absolve themselves from that responsibility by declaring that they don’t matter. Whatever the reasoning used, it is a sad state to believe that you do not matter.
When asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:36-37). Truly, we should love God with every bit of our being. It cannot be just a spoken love. It must be a love that is openly expressed by who we are and how we think, talk and act. One of the paramount features of a Christian’s life is that it is lived it to the glory of God.
God has given us the greatest lifestyle system the world has ever seen- Christianity! No other discipline even begins to measure up to the quality and promise of the Christian lifestyle. Everything the world has come up with on its own pales by comparison. In fact, any philosophy devised by man that removes God as a central tenet generally brings misery and is doomed to failure.
We’ve undergone an extensive study on the mind of Christ, focusing primarily on the text on the subject in Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phlp. 2:1-8). Paul lists many characteristics that exemplify the mind of Christ that we should implement into our lives as Christians- unity, fellowship, love, humility, obedience, sacrifice, service. Paul’s admonition, in the middle of the text, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” is an instruction, not a suggestion. We’re supposed to implement the mind of Christ in our lives. How can we do that?
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul penned a magnificent text of scripture on The Mind Of Christ (Phlp. 2:1-8). In the first four verses of the text he listed character traits that ought to exemplify a Christian’s life. In the last three verses he gave examples of the mindset displayed by Christ in His coming to this earth, living as a man and going to the cross to offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Perhaps most intriguing is verse five, right in the middle of the text, in which Paul admonished, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We are to have the mind of Christ!
We’re at the beginning of a new year. This is a time when people are contemplating making changes in their lives. They think about how things have been going and consider what they would like to change to make their lives better. Let me urge you to consider what could be one of the most significant changes that you could make. Resolve, make up your mind, to be in Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, as consistently as you possibly can be. If you have children, resolve to bring them to Bible classes every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.
We’ve crossed over the threshold of time, moving from one year into another. This article is number thirty six in a line of bulletin articles I’ve been privileged to write, as a full time gospel minister, at the beginning of a new year. Four such articles have come at the beginning of a new decade, and one served to usher in a new century and millennium. I suppose it’s common for a preacher to mull over, to a somewhat greater degree, just what he should write at the beginning of a new year. He wants to say something profound, something that will stimulate thoughtfulness and action in a positive direction on both an individual and a congregational basis.
Foolishness can be observed in various forms all around us, even in our own personal lives. In some forms foolishness is basically just harmless fun, as long as it is not carried too far. Everybody needs to take some time to relax, have some fun, as my parents used to put it, cut up a little. As long as it is kept in proper perspective, with no harm being done, that kind of foolishness can actually be productive, having a rejuvenating effect and contributing to having a good time without negative consequences.
Gary L. Hutchens