Do you ever feel stuck in the same old patterns? Like nothing will ever change? You try to gain some ground but just don’t see any progress. I know for me the problem is often that I try to do what I call “flesh-training.” I attempt to change my sinful tendencies by willing away my selfishness, short-fuse, or runaway thoughts with determination or a plan of some sort. It never works.
I too easily forget what God says about how we get unstuck. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
God wants to transform us by changing the way we think. The NIV translation says it this way, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Flesh training is futile, God says we get unstuck by the renewing of our mind.
So I have a challenge for you who are trekking through Philippians and Colossians with me this summer. Will you join me in memorizing/meditating on Philippians 2:1-18? If we want to see change in our lives, it will start in our minds. So let’s memorize some truth about who our Jesus really is and the kind of attitude He calls us to emulate. He says the way up is down. He says to do everything without complaining and arguing. He reminds us to work out our salvation.
I like this passage in the NIV so here it is. Write it in a notebook, on note cards, pull it up on your phone, or just spend 2 minutes every day memorizing portions of the passage straight from your Bible. I promise you will not be the same at the end of the summer if you do!
Please let me know if you are planning to renew your mind with me in Philippians 2 this summer so I can pray for and encourage you! Here it is:
“1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”