The Mind of Christ
It is good, Lord, to bless Your name. I remember Your mercies in the morning and Your loving-kindness at night.
Read Galatians 4:8-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus” (Max Lucado).
The seeds planted during Jesus’ ministry have flourished. Fifteen or twenty years later there are young churches springing up and spreading through the Roman world. Gentiles and Jews together have begun praising God and living without the constraints of the Law as understood by the Pharisees. Recently, however, the faith of the Galatian Christians has been disturbed by teachers who have urged them to adopt the Jewish way of life, receiving circumcision, eating only kosher food, and observing the Sabbath (10).
Paul certainly believed that the Law was given by God, but he believed it had been given for a limited time, until the Messiah came (Gal. 3:24; Rom. 10:4). Now that Christ had come, eating with sinners, welcoming tax collectors and granting membership in God’s people to Gentiles, the rules that had kept Israel distinct from the other nations had lost their validity. To submit to them was a lurch back into a state similar to what they had known before, each nation subject to the “weak and miserable principles” of its own national gods (9). This reminds us that any religious tradition, including our own, can become an enslaving idolatry.
To dispense with the tried and trusted rules of Judaism might seem like a recipe for anarchy or immorality (as it seemed to Paul’s opponents), but there is an alternative. Paul’s desire was that Christ would be formed in them (19): that Christ, by his Spirit, would so dwell in them that they would learn to look at each situation with the eyes of Christ, and learn in their own experience how to please the Lord (Eph. 5:10; Rom. 12:2). Teaching people to think for themselves is hard, slow work. Trusting God to teach people by his Spirit will always seem risky; it is much easier to give them a list of dos and don’ts!
How do you see the mind and life of Christ being formed in you? How can you cooperate more completely with that?
Lord, I know You want to form Christ in me, You want me to be just like Jesus. I confess, so often I am more like myself. Help me to be like Jesus.
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