As long as I live there will be something worth fighting for, worth writing for, and worth dying for.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Up Go the Defenses

Parakaleo-- that, my friends, I truly believe is my spiritual gift. I know you all are looking at me like, "Uhhh, Jessica, that word isn't even in my Bible." Wrong. It is. The word is Greek, and is translated as exhorting in English.

We have been studying Spiritual Gifts in Sunday School. It has been an interesting study. Over the years, my thoughts on the spiritual gifts have been all over the place, lacking direction and application. The material that has been presented over the past two Sundays has absolutely captured my attention. I have finally had the gifts presented to me in a practical and Biblically-back manner. After yesterday's lesson, I believe I have the gift of exhortation.

to come along side of someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be

The special ability God gives some to help strengthen weak, faltering, and fainthearted Christians in such a way that they are motivated to be all God wants them to be.

The ability to help others reach their full potential by means of encouraging, challenging, comforting, and guiding.

The divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith.

People with this gift:
- come to the side of those who are weak in spirit to strengthen them
- challenge or confront others to trust and hope in the promises of God
- urge others to action by applying Biblical truth
- offers advise, an outline for a solution, or a program for progress
- motivates others to grow.

Jessica's number one passion in life: driving others to be all that God wants them to be, whether by encouragement or rebuke.

Jessica's number one problem in life: being on the other end of this action.

I was talking with an old college roommate tonight. I had received a message from a friend earlier in the day that we 'needed to talk.' Given recent actions of mine, which I know were wrong, I have a humungous hunch that our conversation, which will take place in 48 hours, will have a few akward moments. I am already akward and I don't even know for certain that we will be discussion the above-mentioned sins I committed toward this person. For me, it's like being sent to my room and told to stare at the four walls and "Wait till your dad gets home." The thought runs through my mind, "Do I have to wait?!? Why can't we just end this now. Slap me across the wrist; ground me; get it over with." (You should have seen me in high school when I got sent to the principal's office once by some control-hungry substitute teacher. You'd a thought I just got shot).

I am getting better, I think. It is still hard to be on the other end of confrontation though. For me, it is more shame that I should have known better to begin with, even embarrassment over a temporary spiritual "duh moment." But, through experience, I have found it is so easy to put up our defenses. It's like we are going into court. We gather up our arguments, our witnesses, our testimonies, our excuses and do 'mock scenarios' over and over again, fielding every accussation and barracading every weakness. You know what?

Confrontation is not a bad thing. It isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but it is not a bad thing. The exhorter that I may be, I still have faults. And the exhorter that I may be, I can tend to be oblivious to those faults. It runs along the lines of "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." I just run my course, until all of the sudden, someone throws a mirror in front of my face. I look at it and think, "Who on earth is that?!" That's when the fellow Christian comes along and says, "Jessica, that's you." Ouch.

It's uncomfortable, because we each like to think that we are perfect (yes, you do, don't lie). But that is exactly the reason that we need people to confront us, to challenge us, so that we can become more like Him. I love Hebrews 3:13.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

I can't imagine being exhorted daily, but God's word tells us to. Why? To prevent us from becoming hardened to sin. See sin doesn't march into your life wearing a sleazy outfit and a nametag that says, "Hi! My name is sin, and I am here to ruin your life." Most Christians spot those sins and avoid them rather easily. It's the tricky little ones that get us. It's the little spots on our face: the proud look, a quick tongue (guilty) or, my personal downfall, quick to react (too quick). I can go days lighting into people before finally someone stands up and says, "Jessica, this isn't cool!" I have totally missed it. While dodging all of the big bad bullies and avoiding the alleys, I have been infected by this little tick of a sin. It is important, yay, even necessary for someone else to come up to me and say, "Jessica, you know that you have this problem, right? You know that it's affecting your relationship with God and with other people, right?"

It's good for me. It is good for me to get that out of my life. No, it isn't comfortable, but it is pointless to try and defend it. Sin is not your friend and your friends are not bullies (at least they shouldn't be). The body of Christ was constructed to edify and encourage one another, even groom one another to become more like Christ. I have friends in my life who are willing to put the comfort of our relationship at stake for the sake of my spiritual walk. Those are HUGE blessings. They care! They love you that much.

So, next time someone looks at you and says, "Ummm...we need to talk." Put the briefcase away and leave the defenses down. Let your friends be Christ to you. Let them show you areas in your life that you need to change and then take action to change them. Treat them with respect, because one day, you may need to do the same for them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Breath of Salvation

"This is what the soul must feel at the moment of redemption." That is what I have been thinking since about noon today. To recap, last Friday, I went into visit my doctor to renew some prescriptions. Through the course of our visit, she found two masses, one in my throat, the other near my right arm, in my breast. She sent me for bloodwork and ultrasounds. I had the ultrasounds today.

This past week has been a trial and a half. I have learned much that I overlooked before. I have learned the beauty of everyday. The miracle of life. The gift of Godly friends and the power of Christ.

Today, I explained everything to the ultrasound tech and in 15 minutes she had both ultrasounds completed. My brain was whirring because she had spent, what seemed to me, a significant portion of time focusing on the right side of my neck. She excused herself to go discuss my tests with the radiologist. I sat there on the bed thinking, "This is it! This is it! I just know it. This is bad news. Why is she taking so long? They must be calling the specialists. They are probably calling a doctor. She hasn't turned the machine off, they must want to do further tests."

She came back in the room and said to me, "I have talked with the radiologist. We really have no idea why your doctor sent you here.
We can't find anything at all in either place. Your thyroid is perfectly normal. There is nothing here to be concerned about. You are fine, you are healthy,
have a great day, kid."

I think I screamed for joy. I can't remember. I know that I was nearly relieved to the point of tears. I thanked her, told her she had just made my day and left the office.

If I knew how, I could have cartwheeled all the way to work. I practically ran through the doors of the office and told my coworker. She about screamed for me. My aunt, the doubting Thomas that she is, took a little more convincing. But I remember thinking, "This is how redemption feels."

We, in our sinful state, stand on the edge of a death sentence. All we are waiting for is judgement day to tell us to take ourselves and our sins to the deepest pits of hell for eternity. We are hopeless. But then God, in all of His love and in all of His glory, when we believe in who He is, in what He has done for us and rely on Him, we find ourselves alive. Not only alive but cleansed! There is no trace of what once was. He removes it all, leaving us free to live an abundant life. That is the power of grace, and I am loving every minute of it!

Thank you all so much for your prayers. I have learned lessons that I pray I never forget. Our lives truly are not forever, and we indeed, are not invincible. But God, God is ever faithful. He is mighty to save!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


In twelve hours I will be sitting in a waiting room, preparing to undergo approximately an hour of ultrasound tests. What a way to spend a Friday! :-D

I've said it a million times and I am sure I will say it a couple million more: I am so grateful for Godly friends. Friends that have the right perspective. At work, the attitude is, "Oh, that stinks, man, I am sure glad I am not you." It is amazing to see that contrasted to the body of Christ. The Christlike friends I know have come around me and encouraged me. They have seen a better perspective, a more excellent purpose.

I was talking with a friend tonight, and she started laughing. I looked at her like she grew three heads (not that she already had two) and was thinking to myself, "Ummm...OK. What is so funny?" Get this. She was laughing because the thought had danced across her mind that I might meet my future husband through this trial. Random, yes. That's why I love her :-D

Truth is, I have put a lot of my dreams on hold. I'm not afraid to admit that. What once seemed like a major priority: finding a husband, raising a family, has paled in comparison to my calling to live for Him. In all honesty, it is hard to dream when you know that there is a pretty good chance that those dreams will never come true.

In all reality, that's how we all should live our lives though. You never know when your time is up. Car accidents, heart attacks and freak accidents kill people every day. People who had dreams. Now they have no tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a big day for me. It's HUGE. But my God's hands are bigger, and He holds tomorrow.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33-34

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Someone Else's Isaac

I'm writing this during a fairly impressive thunderstorm. We'll see if it makes it to the finish without me having to restart my computer :-)

Tonight, I had a brief but deep conversation with a friend at church. She looked at me point blank and asked, "What do you think when you think about what might happen?" That's a tough question.

She went on to say that I have always wanted to be the next Jim Elliot. I have been wracking my brain for the last two hours trying to figure out when on earth I told her that. It is true; I have always wanted to live a life that impacted the world, a life of complete surrender. For me that probably doesn't include learning a foreign language and traipsing into a spear-bearing crowd. Sacrifice looks different for everyone.

The thought occurred to me on the way home tonight, "Am I willing to be someone else's Isaac?" The sacrifice that must take place in order to 'prove' one's faith.

For years, I have prayed for the faith of my family, that they would grasp God. That they would truly KNOW Him. Nothing has seemed to work, and I remember once praying, "God whatever it takes. I would die if I knew that it would bring them closer to you." We both smiled tonight when I told her that this isn't quite what I expected.

To be truthful, my outlook on my future has changed a lot over the past five days. I suddenly realize that we really aren't promised tomorrow. It's funny, you hit 21 and think you are invincible. You're not. I'm not, and every time I feel the catch in my neck or the ache under my arm I am reminded of how UN-invincible I am. But He holds tomorrow. I could easily get in a serious accident and have the whole thing be over with. Only He knows.

"If my life is going to change, I am going to change someone else's with it." I said that, and she remembered it. That is truth.

I don't know if that change would include death at this point. She and I talked about that. I told her that for all I know, I could just have pain that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. They could just be cysts that are going to drive me bonkers for forever, but I would be a fool to not consider what is possible.

My life has changed, and it will continue to change. These past few days have ignited a passion unlike any I have ever known. It is easy to give up your dreams when you don't think you will have time for them anyway. I have seen what my priorities are and what they should be. May the outcome of these tests never change that perspective. I live, not for myself, but for the glory of God.

I think back to two dear friends I have lost in the last 4 years, both 22. Darcy and Josh. Darcy had 'all of her dreams.' She was married to an amazing man, a preacher. They were out on ministry singing and were killed instantly in a fiery crash. Josh was on the brink of all of his dreams. He was engaged to be married, ready to enter training to be a local church missionary. He fought cancer for a year, until it took him. Both have majorly impacted my life. They have been Isaacs to me. Willing servants of the Most High, who were obedient to His leading, whose deaths changed my faith.

If my death meant that just one teenager caught on fire for God, would I go willingly? Am I willing to be Isaac for someone else?

See God Through This

I got my bloodwork back today. It says I am normal (scientific proof for those of you who doubted). My mother and I aren't quite sure if the result is cause for rejoicing or concern. Being normal means that this mass in my throat is not my thyroid, which could be a bad thing. He is still in control. I appreciate all of your prayers.

These past few days have been a bit of a trial. I must say that they have strengthened my faith to a level I could have never before imagined. I went into the mindset of "Look at this through God." I would cry, often. People asked me if this was 'scary.' My answer, "Umm...yeah, it is."

In the last day or two, my perspective has changed to "Look at God through this." See, God doesn't change, and focusing on Him puts my current woes in a much different light. Certainly, uncertainty is still scary. It is not the most comforting of states, but I am in the most comforting of places. I have 'survived' since Sunday. No tears. Not because I am trying to be strong, but because He has given me a strength that I do not understand.

My ultrasounds are on Friday. We will certainly know more then. Most assuring is that He already knows. I appreciate your continued prayers. I am indebted to you all.

Life goes on as normal. I have MOCOYOGRO tonight, volleyball tomorrow and an all-day volleyball tournament on Saturday, church on Sunday and start the whole thing all over again :-)

I wanted to share this thought of the day, though. I found it on an old piece of scrap paper from college. It was lying on our bathroom sink this morning. I have no clue how it got there. It is a quote from Charles Spurgeon:

Those who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but those who 'do business in great waters', these see His wonders in the deep. Among the huge Atlantic waves of bereavement, poverty, temptations and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

And this I pray, to see God through this. Father, show me Your glory.

Monday, July 21, 2008

From whence cometh my help.

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. "
Psalms 121

I am fully convinced that all men with Bachelor of Divinity degrees are psychic. (I am joking, obviously). Do you ever have moments like that though? You step into church, struggling with something, and as you listen to the message you are thinking, "Who told him! Who told him that I was struggling with this?" Answer: God. I don't think I'll hold it against Him.

This past Sunday morning, I sat in morning service. It had been two days since I had the first warning tremors of something big about to happen. I thought I had life under control. People asked me how I was doing. "Fine" I would answer. Truthfully, I am fine, except for this little riptide I am in right now. Other than that, I'm good. I figured I had it under control. I mean, I got through Saturday without crying, which is a fact I am very proud of.

Enter pastor's sermon.

For his opening illustration, he shared a phone conversation he had with his son's father-in-law (we really need to come up with a title for that). This man is a pastor out in California and has been given a year to live with his cancer. Pastor says he spoke with him and that this man said, "You don't realize how selfish you are until all of your chips are out." Fall, tear one.

Pastor went on to give a sermon on "The Upward Look." His base text was Psalm 121. I remember his points. The Upward Look brings salvation. The Upward Look brings hope. The Upward Look brings peace. The Upward Look brings action. All the while, I am sitting in my pew with tears streaming down my face. He opened the invitation with, "Is there something that is completely out of your hands. You know, we people, we try to help, but sometimes the only One who can help you is God."
As I hunted through my purse for my tissues all I kept thinking was, "How on earth did he find out?"

I needed that message. It was a booster shot to my weakened faith. Of course I know that I am supposed to be relying on God, but sometimes just hearing someone else say it helps.

Then this morning, in my morning devotions, I read a "leadership principle" taken from a Peace Corps commercial, of all places. The phrase: If you aren't doing something with your life, it doesn't matter how long it is.


I have been trying to practice the Upward Look. Trying to practice a selfless life. I still have so far to go. As I got my blood drawn for tests this morning, I prayed a silent prayer, "God, I don't know why. I don't understand why. As much as I want to know why, I also know that You are in control. You already know the results of this test. I admit, the possibilities scare me, but I know they don't scare You. You have planned this, for reasons I do not know. You have planned this to be part of my life. To be what I experience right now. Be my Help, Father. Be my Sufficiency. I know that You are with me, even now. Even in the valley of the shadow. However the outcome, use it for Your glory. That is the very reason I live and breathe. For Your glory, Lord. In Christ's name, Amen."

And the Upward Look brought peace.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Walk on Water

The times in our lives when it seems hardest are the times that we have lost our sight of Him.

I have struggled in the last 24 hours, especially to remember where God is. Right beside me, right where He has always been.

God tries our faith, this much is true. I think of the story of Peter and walking across the water. Christ says, "Come on out, Peter." So Peter jumps out of the boat, and for a few moments, life is great. He is on top of the world. He is doing the impossible. It had to have been SO COOL! Then, all of the sudden, he thinks to himself, "Look at those waves! This was a bad idea!" and down he goes. Peter took his eyes off Christ. He started focusing on his circumstance. The coolness of the impossible all of the sudden became, "What on EARTH am I doing?!!?"

Our faith is like that. Life is peachy keen while we are on top of the waves. While we are cruising along. It's so cool and living for God is totally rad ;-) All of the sudden salt water licks at our kneecaps and we look down. Then, down we go. We take our eyes off Christ and we focus on our situation, we freak out and instead of reaching out to Him, we drown. Bad idea.

I am thankful for Godly friends. They have kept my focus on Him when it has been so hard. I spoke with one last night and told him, "Whether it is or isn't (cancer) the only part of my life that I want to change is my passion to live it." Today, I did just that. I got out of home, I chilled with the boys :-) We went and played sand volleyball. It was the first time I really noticed the growing lump in my throat. They waited patiently for me as I continually took breaks to make sure I didn't overdo it. We went out to lunch and spoke of God, of our walk with Him, of how we struggle with certain aspects of our lives.

One thing we discussed was our daily devotional lives. A friend said, "Isn't it funny how the days you spend time with God seem to go so well and then the days you don't, everything falls apart." Throughout our discussion, we determined it all comes back to discipline. I shared with them that Friday morning I was running late. I had ten minutes to spare and the thought crossed my mind, "Sorry God, I just don't have time this morning, maybe later." Conviction flooded me and I thought to myself, "No, you need this, you need to do this, even if it isn't a lot of time." I told them that those few moments I spent are what got me through yesterday. Without those moments of reflection and worship, I would have drowned. We must keep our focus on Him.

I didn't cry today, at least not until I started talking with my mom. Life suddenly feels different when you realize that in a matter of weeks I might be scheduling surgery or chemotherapy. Pretty much my life is going to change drastically in one way or the other. I will probably have to take medicine everyday for the rest of my life. I could die. These are waves, and they are calling out to me to fall in.

There are times I feel myself sinking. Panic begins to set in, but then I remember who He is and where He is. He is my Saviour, the Maker of the mountains I am unable to climb, my Fortress, my Rock, my Deliverer, my Sufficiency, the Lover of my Soul, the Creator of my life, the Sustainer of my being, the only One worthy of all of my praise and He has never left me. He has not changed. My circumstances should not change my relationship with Him except to draw me closer.

One of the songs that I have fallen in love with over the past couple weeks is "Mighty to Save" by Laura Story (or Hillsong United). I love the chorus:

"Saviour, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save; He is mighty to save. Forever, Author of Salvation. He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave."

He is my saviour and He is mighty to save, but even if He doesn't 'save' me from this, He is still mighty. Praise God.

Friday, July 18, 2008


God really has a way of hammering home the lessons He is trying to teach me. I have spent this week studying the portion of Chronicles that discusses the building of the temple. Even this morning I sat amazed at the sovereignty of God. I was amazed at how He took care of every little detail. He was in it all, right down to the smallest tribe, He was involved, He cared. That touched me this morning. It excited me. Sitting here now, twelve hours later, I understand why.

I went into work today, like every other day. Went to a doctor's 'well visit' appointment just to renew some prescriptions before my insurance is terminated. I walked out with two new prescriptions and orders for diagnostic testing. I might have cancer. That isn't quite the 'well office' visit I was going for.

Ever have one of those days when you want to hit the pause button and rewind. Like you didn't quite catch an amazing play at a football game so you say, "Oh, no! That was too cool, rewind that and play it back in slow motion. I just can't believe it!!" I've been doing that in my head all day. "God, take me back to this morning, knowing what I know now and let me just live this day over again because it all happened so fast."

Tears have come on and off all day as I have struggled with understanding why. I have hit rewind and played the whole day over again. I start with this morning and my time in the Word. I remember how much I rejoiced at the sovereignty of God that now every fiber of my being screams to question. My mind has rushed ahead: "What if it is? How long do I have? Should I up my life insurance policy? Should I get a better health insurance plan?" My mother and I seriously sat down this afternoon and looked at health insurance plans that cover chemotherapy and inpatient hospitalization. We even discussed the benefits of one insurance that has a life insurance option.

As the day has played over and over again, I have become more and more at peace with who He is. I don't have to understand why. As much as this day rocked my world, God knew. He knew what this day would hold when I woke up this morning. That and He knows what the tests next Friday will reveal.

As I've read through Chronicles, I've seen the sovereignty of God at work. I've seen how He used David. Did you know that David couldn't build the temple because of the blood that he had shed? Did you know that Solomon was chosen because his reign would be full of peace? Did you know that the peace of Solomon's reign was the result of the bloodshed? Read it! It's in there! I promise I am not making it up:
The very thing that kept David from building the temple was the very thing that allowed Solomon to build it. How AWESOME is that!!

It reminds me of the verse in Romans: All things work together for good.

Doesn't mean all things are good, but that they work together for good. The end result of what they will accomplish is controlled by the hand of the Benevolent One.

I watched a video in MOCOYOGRO about an aussie name Nick. Nick was born without arms or legs. It is amazing to hear him preach. To see him, standing on a table proclaiming the goodness of God in his life.

Goodness??!?! You say. Goodness?!? How can a man with no arms and no legs consider that God's goodness? That deformity has opened up opportunities that no two-legged person could ever accomplish. What we see as bad is working out for good...according to His purpose.

That's really what it all boils down to, isn't it. Living a life of reckless abandon means surrendering completely to His purpose. That is the very reason for our breathing. And you know what? God would never waste a life. If I am here, I am here for a reason. If I have cancer, I have it for a reason. If I die, I die for a reason. He knew...and He allowed because He has a reason, a reason for this testing of my faith. A reason for this time of uncertainty. He has a reason, and He, not I, is ultimately in control.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pray the Promises of God

For a couple months now, friends have been really challenging me in the aspect of prayer. One big thing I hear is "Claim the Promises of God." What on earth is that supposed to mean?? The Bible tells us to pray boldly. How does that look? Do I just march into the throneroom of grace, lay open my Bible and say, "Listen, you promised this this and this and I want it now." That's bold. Not sure about respectful, but it is bold.

It reminds me of an attorney's commercial on TV right now. People are shown screaming at their TV's or out their windows. Their battle cry is "It's my money and I need it now!" Is that how we approach God?

Me. I was raised praying like this, "Dear Lord, I really want this and such, like I really really want it, but Your will be done. Amen." A friend challenged me recently that a prayer like that isn't exactly bold and it isn't exactly a faith-based prayer. Might be a good reason why nothing was really happening when I prayed. If something I wanted didn't happen, I just figured it wasn't God's will.

Yesterday morning, I was reading through Chronicles and came across this passage in 1 Chronicles 17.

For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee. And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.
1 Chronicles 17:25-27

In context, this passage falls in the chapter of Scripture where David desires to build a house for the ark. His advisor, for lack of a better word, tell him to go for it. That night, God tells his advisor to tell David not to do it. Instead, God will use David's descendants to build the ark. He promises to establish David's family for forever and to never leave his line. (A promise fulfilled in Christ, for those of you wondering).

So here is this promise from God. David has just heard it. It has just been given. We all know God is a God of His word, He cannot lie, He does not make promises that He will not keep. So, you would think David could kinda put that promise in his back pocket to pull out later. Instead, he prays for God to do as He has promised!


Does he doubt God? No.
Did God tell him to? No.

So what was his reason? Worship.

David declared the promise of God in his prayer as worship to God. Praying for it did four things.

1. It showed he was listening to God
2. It showed he believed God
3. It showed he trusted God
4. It reminded him of the power of God

If I claim the promises of God in my prayer it reminds me of all that He is and all that I am not.

That attitude, of praying the promises of God, has revolutionized my prayer life so far this week. It is one thing to come before God timid and unsure and praying the vanilla "Your will" prayer, disregarding your hopes and dreams. It is another thing to go blazing before Him demanding (like the prodigal son, coincidentally) that He has promised you this and you need it now. I think the happy medium is this, to approach God and claim His promises, not as reminders to Him but reminders to ourselves. In doing so, we humble ourselves before the One who gives and takes away, yet we know that if we ask, He will give it to us. It is a sweet fellowship of trust and obedience.

I don't know if I am showing it well on here. Just imagine how it would change our lives if we went through the Bible and claimed all of the promises that God has given us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Choose to be a Nobody

Yesterday morning, I sat down for my morning devotions. I was at a loss for where to go in Scripture, and what exactly to study. My brother is in New York at the Word of Life Ranch right now, and this summer they are studying the book of Philippians. Jonathan and I enjoy challenging conversation with each other, so I decided I would brush up on Philippians and read it through myself. I had to memorize a large portion of it 6 summers ago when I first worked at the Ranch, but isn't it neat how God's Word doesn't get old? The one verse that was our theme verse for that summer hit me during devotions and challenged a very huge problem in my life: my pride.

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

This was one of the first verses I remember ever memorizing. We would sing it to the tune of "Give me oil in my lamp." I have quoted it countless times and it is the 'Scriptural Basis' for WWJD.

We are missing the rest of the sentence. See, Scripture verse numberings are manmade, and whoever did them would break up sentences. Granted, some of the writers, especially Paul, would write a sentence long enough to kill your high school English teacher. His sentences are often verse upon verse upon verse long. The grammatical rule still stays the same though. One sentence = one thought. So let's look at the rest of the sentence.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross

I think sometimes we interpret "Let this mind be in you" to mean "Have a Christlike attitude." What does that look like? The verses afterward tell us. The mind of Christ is a mind that makes us into nobodys. Christ was God, so if anybody had the right to tell people what was up, He did. He had every right to come down here and knock sense into people. He had every right to walk around declaring Himself to be God and demand to be treated as such. It wouldn't have been wrong. He could have. He didn't. Instead, He did the complete opposite. He made Himself into a nobody. It says it right there, "made himself of no reputation." Here is God in the flesh, the whole world literally at His fingertips and He be of no reputation. He CHOOSES to be a servant, to humble himself and die on our cross.

How does this translate to us?

You know, all that you think you are...all the 'game' you think you have means nothing. To have the mind of Christ is to choose to be a nobody. Besides, your life isn't about you anyway. To have the mind of Christ is to humble yourself and do that which is beneath you, because nothing is beneath you.

It ties right in with Proverbs 27:2

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

In other words, quit telling the world you are all that. If you are all that, someone else will be sure to tell the world for you.

Personal application for me: No service, no ministry is below me if I truly have the mind of Christ.