Friday, September 19, 2008

#8 Two Minds are Better Than One?

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
Philippians 2:5

Have you ever met someone who seems to have chameleon-like qualities? When you see them one day they may be happy and glorifying God and then the next time you see them they are complaining about everything under the sun. There have been times in my life when I have had to work with people with this very quality and it was difficult to say the least. I have often wondered why they allowed the circumstances of life to dictate how they were going to feel. I remember one guy in particular with whom I worked burying telephone cable. He was actually a supervisor and you just never knew what kind of mood he was going to be in when he came to work. One day he would come in and be really pumped up about the jobs that we had to do and other days he was just miserable to be around. I actually looked for him to have a heart attack or some other traumatic malady to strike him because he allowed everything to stress him out. I begin to notice after a couple of weeks of working with him that each morning he would have a Mt. Dew and two headache powders with his breakfast. Seeing the pattern I inquired as to why he took this daily cocktail. He told me that he was just preparing himself for the headaches that he knew the day would bring. I felt sorry for his stomach as I watched him repeat this day after day. One day when we were working and having some difficulty boring under the highway he became extremely frustrated. The boring rod hit some rock and deviated from the straight shot that we had hoped it would make. That meant that it was really tough trying to find the other end when we dug down to it in order to pull the phone cable through. The longer we dug trying to find the other end of the boring rods the more he ranted and cursed. I finally had enough of the childish behavior and I stopped and turned to him. I asked him, "If you hate this job so much why don't you just go home or do something else?" I could tell that he was shocked at my comments because I normally just let him blow off his steam with little to no reaction. But this day I'd had enough and it was time to get past this. After my comments he began to tell me how his home life was not the best and that when he was at work he could not do anything without thinking about how bad his marriage was. That constant dwelling on his miserable situation just kept his stomach in knots and made it tough for him to focus on anything but his situation. In a way I felt bad for calling him out, but I was glad that I did because it allowed him to talk to me about what was going on and I could tell that he felt a thousand times better. You see my supervisor was not a Christian and he was one of these guys that thought he had to be macho and tough to everyone around him. When what he really needed was someone with whom he could be transparent and open. Although I initially spoke up in frustration and more than mild irritation, my words led to a break in the tension and Goad actually used me to be an encouragement to this man during a very difficult time in his life.

The problem with my co-worker was that he was living with two minds. At home he tried his best to reach out to his wife but he did not know how to emotionally connect with her. That in turn caused her to feel even more alienated from him. Then at work he tried to mask the pain he was feeling with medication and caffeine. While inside he was in constant turmoil. It is not healthy or wise to try to be two different people. Yes, I know that the apostle Paul told us to be all things to all people (1 Cor 9:22) but this in the context of approaching people in a way that speaks to their need and experience. It does not mean that we are to live double lives while tearing ourselves apart inside both emotionally and spiritually. Christ wants us to be balanced people who can maintain a healthy sense of where God is leading us. Our theme text says that we should have the same mind in us that Jesus also had. What kind of mind was that? If you read further in the text from which the verse was taken, Paul goes on to say that Jesus became a bond-servant in the form of a man. In essence it is saying that Jesus came to this lowly place called earth to serve each one of us by willfully dying on Calvary's cross to redeem us to the Father through the shedding of His blood. Christ was not double-minded in that He was one way to one group and another way to the next group. No, He maintained a healthy balanced approach to life and had the same peaceful demeanor no matter where He went. We must learn to master that same sense of being. How do we do that you ask? We do it the same way that Jesus did. And that is by staying connected to the Father in heaven by daily praying to Him and studying His holy word. It is only when we give ourselves up totally to Jesus that we can manifest the mind of Christ in our lives. So are two minds better than one? Only if those two minds are our mind being controlled by the indwelling of the Spirit of God that is in touch with the mind of God. When we allow our minds to be submitted to the mind of Christ then and only then will we have the inner peace that comes from knowing that God is in control no matter what happens. Please do not wait until you find yourself coming apart at the seams. Choose today to submit your will to the will of God. Embrace that inner tranquility that the Lord longs for you to have.

Dear Father God,

We just ask that You would draw near to us tonight and hear the cries of our hearts. Lord, there are many of us who are double-minded. We act one way in one place and totally different in another. We need to be centered dear Lord. We need to the chains of bondage taken away because we long to live in the freedom that comes from surrendering it all to you. I pray tonight dear Father that You would move mightily upon our dear church family. I pray that You would send Your Spirit to impress each of our hearts to be fully surrendered to You tonight and forever more. Give us the mind of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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