Sunday, July 11, 2010

Guest blogger, Stan Nussbaum, takes us on a journey through the messianic year calendar.

Welcome to the journey of our Messiah through the year with Dr. Nussbaum.

July 11 – Power to be like him

“Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.” Phil. 2:5 (NLT)

Should. Should. Should. Probably the favorite word of religious teachers everywhere. The fly in the “should” ointment is a big one though, the big gap between knowing what we should do and doing it. This, for example, is what minimizes the value of the “WWJD” approach to life. We may stop and think of what Jesus would do if he were in our shoes, realize it is what we should do too, but still not be able to make ourselves do it.

How do we “make ourselves” do anything? Nobody really knows the full answer to that but we all know that there are some things we just can’t make ourselves do, or at least not as consistently as we “should” do them or as we think we want to do them. Since we are free people making free choices, our inconsistencies must be signals of some imbalance too deep for us to understand or get at. This is true of all us “normal” people, not just a tiny minority of psychotics. It’s the way humans are.

For those of us who are Christian humans, what then do we do with a verse like this week’s focus, Phil. 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had”? If Christianity were like all other religions (and many “Christians” assume it is), we would take a verse like that and try to make ourselves be a little more like we know we should be. We would study Jesus’ character and his words. We might memorize this verse or put it on a plaque in our homes. And we would often tell ourselves, “I’ve got to have the attitude that Jesus had.”

Our attempts would not work any better than those of Buddhists, Muslims, or anybody else trying to live up to the “shoulds” in their religions, except for one thing. Our Messiah did go up to his throne and leave us alone facing a bunch of “shoulds.” We would not have been able to do them. We did not have it in us. But now we do. Since he poured out his Spirit at Pentecost, he himself lives in us, motivating and enabling us to do what we could never have made ourselves do. The Spirit changes our attitudes, rearranges and heals our sub-conscious, and makes new people out of us.

As new people we do have the attitude of Christ, not because we knew we should and we tried really hard to get it but because he put it into us and it is working its way out. As Paul puts it, “For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh . . . so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Ro. 8:3-4, NET)

As we noted earlier (March 14th), “The Holy Spirit lights a messianic fire in people and makes them resemble Jesus, just as we might imagine Shakespeare’s spirit would turn people into amazing writers or Michelangelo’s spirit would turn them into great painters.” The Spirit enables us to see Jesus the Messiah, and the more clearly we see him, the more our attitude resembles his. When he returns, “We will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” (1 Jn. 3:2)

The good news is that through the Spirit’s work deep within us, our future is already underway. What a gift the Messiah is giving us—the power to be like him! Now there is something we can smile about.

Welcome: Jesus, you are my idol. I want to be like you. May your life and your Spirit fill me and make my dream come true. May all who see me see you.

Affirmation: By the power of Holy Spirit, I quit saying, “That’s the way I am,” and start saying, “Thank God, I’m not what I was!”



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