Today’s Scriptures:

“ (1)  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (2)  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (3)  And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:  (4)  But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.  (5)  And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” Isaiah 11:1-5

“(28)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

“(13)  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  (14)  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  (15)  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  (16)  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  (17)  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  (18)  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  (19)  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; (20)  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”  Colossians 1:13-20

Introduction:

Today’s message is going to be sub-titled:  “Six Characteristics of the Christlike Mind”.  Just as we did the same kind of thing when we looked at God the Father, we’re going to do the same with taking a look at our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Also, just as we did with God the Father…this isn’t going to be an exhaustive list nor are these characteristics going to be listed in any order of importance…this is just a general list of characteristics to get us to think about, and help us get to know what a Christlike Mind is like…and I believe this will help us to understand Jesus more.

There’s going to be an assignment at the end of today’s message, and I’m just going to say this in the introduction so I don’t have to repeat it later.  If you don’t want to do the assignment…that’s up to you and God.  The whole design of this series is to help you develop a more intimate relationship with God…whether that is your desire or not is between you and God.

I am just responsible for making sure this is out there, and that I’m doing what God desires for me to do…and if you choose to participate or not, read these messages or not…that’s up to you…I’m just going to continue to do what God wants…and leave the results to Him.

Today’s Message:

It’s not easy to find something that’s good enough to write when talking about the characteristics of a Christlike Mind…nor is it easy something good enough to write about the characteristic of Christ to begin with.  The most important relationship we will ever have in our walk with God is with Christ…because as Jesus puts it…He’s the ONLY way to a relationship with the Father…and if we’re trying to get in any other way…we won’t make it.  We cannot have a relationship with God without going through Jesus Christ.  So…let me just start this message off by saying that if you’re trying to get to God any other way than going through THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life…not only have you not gotten in…but there’s NO hope of getting in until you become a “whosoever” that’s called upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

So…let’s take a look at these 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind, and see how they help us to know God better so that we’re more likely to seek Him.  As a reminder, these aren’t written in any order of importance, and this isn’t an exhaustive list…it’s just a list of the Characteristics of the Christlike Mind that hopefully will spark a desire to search out more on your own.

The first of the 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind we’re going to look at is: A Christlike Mind is  ALIVE.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 (KJV)

It’s important to note first of all that Jesus is very much alive and well, and sitting at the right hand of the Father…ever making intercession for us.  In order to have a carnal mind all that’s necessary is for our minds to be on the things of the world, and not on things that are above.  We are to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” according to the exhortation Paul writes in Colossians 3:2 (NKJV).  The King James Version calls them “affections”.

We set our minds upon things that we are affectionate about.  Most of us who are either married or have significant others spend a great deal of time thinking about them, don’t we!?  We have our minds set upon them because we’re affectionate about them…another word for this is…passionate.  I am going to assume that you’re passionate about the people you love, and therefore I am also going to assume that you spend time thinking about your spouses, your family members, and others that you care about deeply.

We think about what we’re passionate and affectionate towards…and what this is saying is that if we spend more time thinking about worldly stuff (being carnally minded) that we’re spiritually dead…but if we’re thinking more along the lines of the spiritual…we have life.

Now, that doesn’t mean we need to walk around all day, every day thinking about Jesus…we should…but that’s another message for another time. What it does mean is that we ought to think about God more than on Sunday’s…and the more we think about God…the more of what God thinks…we will think…and that’s how we wind up having the mind of Christ.

The second of the 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind we’re going to look at is:  A Christlike Mind is SINGLE-MINDED OR FOCUSED.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34 (NKJV)

Let’s think about this for a moment in addition to this point here, and then we’ll comment:

Jesus Christ while on earth was focused on doing the will of God the Father. It is one thing that gives him ultimate satisfaction and delight. There is no other thing that satisfy him other than fulfilling the calling of the Father upon his life, even at the end it led him to crucifixion and death.

Imagine if we would get to a place where the only thing that satisfied us was fulfilling the call of the Father upon our lives.  Now, what I didn’t say is that we should all quit our jobs, and become full-time ministers…what I said was that if we could all get to a place where the only thing that satisfied us was doing what God has called us to do.

The more I write these messages the more I actually like writing them, and the more I want to find to write about.  I’m satisfied by seeing the Holy Spirit take a subject, and use me to write a message that touches hearts…but the greatest satisfaction I get from doing this is knowing that I’m fulfilling the call of God upon my life.

Listen, not everyone is called to blog or preach or go to Africa on missions trips.  However, everyone has a part to fulfill when it comes to The Great Commission…that’s what we should be focused on.  If you ever want to know what the will of the Father is for us today…it’s written right here:

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18 (KJV)

18  And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

If we would make this our focus in our communities, our work places, our neighborhoods, and our families…that’s what we ought to be doing.  This is what the mind of Christ was on when He was here…He lived His life as an example of how to do The Great Commission…now it’s up to us to follow that example…and set our minds upon this very thing right here…until it becomes a passion or affection…because until it becomes a passion or affection for us…we’ll just continue to sit on the sidelines…even though time is drawing short and coming to a close.

Every day that passes is another day closer to the trumpet sounding…and if that doesn’t give you a sense of urgency to tell people about Jesus…then nothing will.  When the trumpet sounds it’s too late, and what’s troubling to me is that I think most people are just satisfied with knowing that when the trumpet sounds…they’re going to Heaven…and you’re right.  If you’re a whosoever that’s called upon the name of the Lord…you are saved…and when that trumpet sounds you’re going to Heaven…but there’s more to be done.

Jesus wasn’t satisfied with saving His disciples…He came to save the world…and then He told us to go into all the world…that’s the will of the Father…that we should go into all of our world and tell people Jesus is coming back…and they need to be saved.

Are you doing that or are you satisfied with knowing that you’re going to Heaven while millions of people are headed to hell.  Are you satisfied with knowing you have eternal life while your mom or your dad or your sister or your brother or your spouse is on their way to eternal life in hell?  Maybe you think you’ve all the time in the world to minister to them, but you don’t…you may not even have the next moment…their next breath could be their last…maybe if you thought about that…you might be a little more single-minded and focused…and having that focus on being Jesus to your world.

The third of the 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind that we’re going to talk about is:  A Christlike Mind is LOWLY or HUMBLE.

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

6)  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7)  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.

Philippians 2:5-8

This is about our attitude, and when we look at what kind of attitude Christ had…and the kind of attitudes that are in our world today…it’s clear to me that most people in the world today have themselves highly exalted and are full of pride…but we’re not to think of ourselves “more highly than we ought to” according to Paul in Romans 12:3 (KJV).

Being lowly means having the attitude of esteeming others better than yourself. A lowly person value other’s interests and respect people whoever they are even though they have humble position or status in life. Humility follows lowliness of mind. Members of the body of Christ learn to submit to one another through lowliness.

An attitude of esteeming others better than yourself.  In today’s culture there’s a “me-first” mentality that’s overtaking society, and what’s worse is that it leads us to have this sense of entitlement with the world.  It’s become one of my greatest pet peeves with people because this is what they all believe:  The idea that one has a right to be given something which others believe should be obtained through effort.

Listen…we seem to want to justify this mindset with the world, but how can we think for a moment that God looks at this attitude with any kind of pleasure at all?  How can we even approach God with a sense of entitlement when it’s so full of pride?  Listen…Jesus gave His life for what we think we’re “entitled” to, and there are people who have worked their tails off to earn where they are in life.

So…when we look at people who have it better than we do like we ought to be entitled to have what they have, but not have to go through and do the work they had to in order to receive it…that’s not a lowly attitude…it’s so full of pride and arrogance.

How dare we have such a prideful mindset in the face of our God?  How dare we have the thought that this kind of mindset or attitude is pleasing to God when He wants us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to?

Would you like to know what kind of attitude is more like the mind of Christ?  It’s thinking that all that we think we’re “entitled” to…we should desire others to have.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t want nice things, but when we get to a place where we feel we’re entitled to it…even at the expense of someone else…that’s prideful and haughty…and we all know that God hates pride…and let those of you who have this mindset not think for a moment that God is pleased.

A church whose members are not lowly tends to be wary, shaky, lose the vision of Christ, direction and purpose. People who truly has an encounter with God are humble and lowly people like Moses. For these people have known their real condition before God. They have realized that all their glories were merely rags before God. The lowly Christian has the security of understanding his position under the greatness of God.

Listen, I don’t believe I’m entitled to anything, and maybe that’s because I have more of a mindset of Christ.  I know from where I came from, and in all reality what I’m really entitled to is death.  I’m entitled to spending eternity in hell for what I’ve done, but what I’ve received instead because of the mind that was in Christ is eternal life with God in Heaven.

I certainly don’t believe I’m entitled to it…I have received it by grace through faith…and I have that understanding and realization like Moses.  I know what I was like before God came into my life, and began to mold and work within me as He wants…and He’s still molding and working on me…I certainly haven’t arrived at some great plateau…I’m a work in progress…and that’s the main thing that keeps me humble and out of the entitlement mentality.

I’m entitled to nothing…but what I’ve received through Jesus Christ is much more…far more than I deserve…and I’m so thankful for what Christ did.

The lowly Christian has the security of understanding his position under the greatness of God.

The fourth of the 6 Characteristics of the Christlike Mind we’re going to talk about in this message is:  A Christlike Mind is PURE.

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”  1 John 3:3 (KJV)

What do you think about?  Do you think about what you saw last night on “Desperate Housewives”?  Do you think about wanting to see the latest horror flick?  I like how Facebook asks you the question:  “What’s on your mind?”.

So…let’s try this in a way that might get you to be more mindful about the things that are on YOUR mind.  Let’s try doing this in the context of instead of Facebook asking what’s on your mind…imagine if Jesus was asking you:  “What are you thinking about?”

Can I tell you that if you would be embarrassed to answer that question to Jesus…then your mind isn’t on something that’s pure…it’s on something that’s not pleasing to God.  If you would be embarrassed to tell God what you’re thinking about…then you shouldn’t be thinking about what you’re thinking about.

The mind of Christ is pure, therefore he has a pure heart. To possess a pure heart, your mind first must be pure. As many says, our mind is the battleground. How can we maintain a pure mind in this wicked generation ?  The answer is found here:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

There are certain things that the Lord has clearly made off-limits for me because He knows they will create vain imaginations in my mind…which will lead to thoughts that are impure…and those impure thoughts lead to impure actions.  That’s the basic cognitive thought process.

Thoughts lead to words. Words lead to actions. Actions build your character. Your character determines your destiny.

What we say and do is determined by how we think.  Remember as a man thinketh in his heart so is he?  We become what we think we are.  We do what we think is appropriate to do.  That’s why God is strict with me on what kinds of movies, television shows, and music He allows me to listen to these days.

Listen…let’s take a look at some statistics that will prove this out.

Among evangelical, fundamentalist or born again Christians, 82 percent say homosexuality is a sin while only 14 percent say it is not a sin.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/44-percent-of-americans-believe-homosexuality-is-a-sin-survey-says-74758/#HilFGpXZLzTkj1wG.99

First, in a recent Barna study, 4 out of 10 Amer­i­cans believe that adul­tery is morally accept­able. For Chris­tians, that num­ber was 1 out of 10. Read more at:  http://www.kellybonewell.com/psychology/adultery-just-the-statistics/

Those are two things that you can pretty much find in any television show or movie.  They say it’s alright if you’re marriage is struggling to sleep with someone else.  They also say that it’s alright to be a homosexual.  Two things the Bible clearly has a position on…and therefore so should Bible believing Christians…but any percentage of Christian who believes adultery is okay or that homosexuality is okay is too high.

That’s because we’re allowing filth to invade our minds, and remain there unchallenged by the Word of God.

Let me get back to something.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with watching television or movies.  What I am saying is that we need to be mindful of what we’re thinking about…and if what we’re thinking about lines up with what we’re watching on Desperate Housewives…and not with what’s in Philippians 4:8 (KJV)…then what we’re thinking about isn’t pure…and again we should be think about it this way…if Jesus was to ask me what’s on my mind…right now…would I be embarrassed to tell Him.

Keep this in mind…He already knows what’s on your mind…so if it’s something you’d be ashamed or embarrassed for Him to know…then you probably shouldn’t be thinking about that…and further more I would urge you to think about what your reading, watching, or listening to that’s causing you to have those kinds of thoughts…I can almost guarantee that if you’re allowing your mind to think about things that you’d be embarrassed to have God know you’re thinking about…and you might need to look at removing those things from your life.

The fifth of the 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind we’re going to look at in this message is this one:  A Christlike Mind is RESPONSIVE.

The disciples of Christ lack distinguishing characteristics of leadership, they were not the “smart guys” but they were responsive to Christ teachings. The disciples have teachable heart.

Do you know why I occasionally include the “Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader” section to these messages?  I’m hoping that you have a “teachable heart”, and will RESPOND in some way to this message.  I am encouraged whenever someone comments or likes what I write, but the more important thing to me is that you take what’s written…and apply it to your walk with God…to respond to it the way God wants you to.  So…when I give these “assignments” they’re not meant to be given so that you’ll interact with me…they’re meant to have you interact with God.

I try to remind you when I give them that your decision to respond to these assignments or not is between you and God.  If you desire to know God in a deeper, more intimate way…you’ll respond to them…if you don’t then you won’t.

Listen…my part is writing these messages.  This is what I’m called to do.  It’s up to you to respond to them however or if you ever feel the desire to.  My relationship with God is secure, and I’m always interested in ways to make it more intimate.  So…you’re under no obligation to complete anything…but if you want to know God better…then I would encourage you to give the assignments a try.  The worst that can happen is that you’ll find the assignment doesn’t apply…the best thing that can happen is it will have an impact upon your relationship with God.

The choice is yours…I’m just responsible for having the choice there.

The Israelites cannot perceive God’s word. Their understanding was veiled due to the hardening of their hearts.  Responsiveness to God is a must for spiritual growth. You must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit .

If you want growth in your relationship with God…then responding to the Holy Ghost is necessary.  If you’re lead by the Holy Ghost to respond to something in these messages, and choose not to…then the responsibility is on you.  Like I said, my responsibility is writing these messages…if I choose not to…then it’s my responsibility.  However, I am responding to God by writing these messages…it’s up to you to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and respond if there’s something the Holy Ghost prompts you to respond to or take note of.  I cannot do that for you…responsiveness to God is your responsibility.

One of the things that harden people’s heart is SIN. When there is a sin you do not want to give up, this sin will harden your heart. Another is PRIDE. When you do not want to admit your true spiritual condition before God, you will be hardened.

I know part of the reason that we some times balk at the opportunity to respond to God is because there’s some kind of sin in our lives that we’re aware of, but don’t want to give up.  The main component to not wanting to give up a particular sin is pride, and that is a sin all by itself.  It’s between you and God to decide where you’re at spiritually…and once you’re aware of what’s standing between you and God…the easiest thing to do is have it removed because 1 John 1:9 says that God is faithful and just to forgive all unrighteousness…and once that’s done…fellowship with Him is restored.

The sixth and final of the 6 Characteristics of a Christlike Mind we’re going to talk about in this message is:  A Christlike Mind is PEACEFUL.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  Isaiah 26:3 (KJV)

Perfect peace for those whose minds are stayed upon the Lord.  Can I tell you that if you’re stressed out that you’re mind isn’t stayed upon the Lord, and furthermore it’s because you don’t trust Him with what you’re mind is stayed upon!?!  Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount this one thing that I think all of us have an extremely difficult time doing, but in reality there’s a reason He tells us in Matthew 6:25 (KJV) to “take no thought for your life”.

He then goes on to talk about not worrying about what you’re going to eat or drink or wear, and that our lives are valuable to God.  So, when we take thought over worldly things that’s when we get the Word choked out of us by the cares of the world, and before you know it we’re so distracted and distraught over the cares of the world that we can’t hear the voice of God anymore, and we’re so far away from His presence…and we don’t know why.

It’s because we’ve taken our minds off of Christ…and put them on the things of the world.  Jesus knows of the damaging effects that worry, stress, and the like have upon us not just spiritually…but physically and emotionally.  Let’s face it when we’re stressed out…we just are so distracted that some times we forget important things…and whatever it is we’re stressed over begins to consume our thought life, it eventually invades our sleep, and before you know it…you have a cold…and then it turns into pneumonia, and all this started because there’s something you were so stressed over because you didn’t trust the Lord enough to cast it upon Him.

So…you agonize over whatever it is to the point of mental and physical exhaustion…and then church day comes…and you don’t feel like going to church.  So you don’t.  Before you know it weeks go by since the last time you’ve been to church.  Now you’re physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted…and before you know it…there’s that breakdown that you never saw coming.

To enjoy a peaceful mind, your mind must be completely controlled by the Spirit, so that it will be focused on the will of the Holy Spirit.

I know that this is far easier said than done, but do you know the reason why I know how the above happens?  I allowed it to happen to me.  When I take my mind and put it upon things that are of the world or that I’m concerned about…it’s not long before I’m distracted myself.  I walk with the Lord, and I can have my mind distracted from Him if I’m not careful about what I allow my mind to dwell upon…and before you know it…that peace I was enjoying is gone.

The only difference is it doesn’t take as long as it used to for me to realize that I’ve allowed my mind to be stayed upon things of the world.  The other difference is the Lord will rebuke me if I spend too much time being distracted…He reels me in to remind me that there’s nothing I can do about anything when I give place to worry, stress, and fear…it’s only when I “fear not, only believe” do I find that even in the midst of the storm…I can be at peace…but it’s only when my mind is stayed upon Him…and the more I do it…the more He takes control…and proves that He can and will take care of what I was stressing out over.

Amidst raging storm, Christ remained calm while the disciples tremble in fear.  A Christlike mind is the mind completely possessed by the mighty Spirit of God.

It is possible to have a Christlike mind, but first we have to know what a Christlike Mind is like…and now we have a better picture of that Christlike Mind.  I know I have a long way to go before my mind is completely possessed by the Holy Spirit, but I also know that I’m getting there.  I wonder how many of you will join me on the journey to having a more Christlike mind by returning every now and again to check ourselves by this list…and see where we need to improve…and where God’s really done a marvelous work.

That’s not the assignment for today, but it’s a good idea to use messages like this to take an inventory of where you’re at spiritually…so you can take it to God, and ask Him to help you to improve in the areas your weak…and thank Him for the areas that He’s made stronger…and more at peace.

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

As you read today’s scriptures, grab your notebook, and record the qualities and nature of Christ Jesus.

Conclusion:

I think this turned out to be a pretty good, practical message.  I hope that you’ll revisit this message like I will from time to time in order to take that inventory to seek God as to where we need to improve, and praise Him for what He’s done.  I know that I will…because part of seeking God is seeking to have His thoughts, His heart, and His will…but not just knowing them…being an active participant in them.

Having a more Christlike Mind is just another step closer to being able to live a more Christlike life…and that should help us to be conformed just a little bit more into the image of His Son…Amen!?!