Learning To Think Like Jesus Rethinking Your Life Part 2
by Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church
Paul said, “We can understand these things because we have THE MIND OF CHRIST!” 1 Corinthians 2:16 – (New Living Translation)
He also said, “In your lives, you must think and act like Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (New Century Version)
[Reflection: When Nicodemus came to Jesus to inquire if He would teach him more, Jesus replied that unless Nicodemus had a complete change of mind by being born again, it wasn’t possible for him to understand the Kingdom of God. Likewise, we believers face the same challenge when we try to comprehend our purpose and goals in life with human logic. Since Christ lives in us through the Spirit, we must let His mind be in charge of our thinking.]
TEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THINKING LIKE JESUS
(All quotes are from the words of Jesus)
Our Lord knew exactly who He was, why He came, what He came to do, why it was necessary to fulfill the will of His Father in Heaven, and the consequences if He failed. Jesus shared this confidence with all who heard Him, especially His disciples. Here are two important things Jesus told them:
1. I KNOW exactly who I am, said Jesus:
I AM. . . . “the Bread of Life.” John 6:35
I AM. . . . “the Light of the world.” John 8:12
I AM. . . . “the Good Shepherd.” John 10:11
I AM. . . . “the Resurrection and the Life.” John 11:25
I AM. . . . “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” John 14:6
I AM. . . . “the True Vine.” John 15:1
I AM. . . . “the Son of God.” Mark 14:61-62
[Reflection: Do we know who we are? What does the Bible say about us who are now living in Christ Jesus who also lives in us?
• I am a child of God. (John 1:12).
• I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life. (John 15:1, 5).
• I am a friend of Jesus. (John 15:15).
• I have been justified and redeemed. (Romans 3:24).
• I have been accepted by Christ. (Romans 15:7).
• I have been called to be a saint. (1 Corinthians 1:2).1
• I am a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
• I am no longer a slave, but a child and an heir. (Galatians 4:7).
• I have been set free in Christ. (Galatians 5:1).
• I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ. (Ephesians 1:7).
• I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works. (Ephesians 2:10).
• I am a member of Christ’s body and a partaker of His promise. (Ephesians 3:6)
• I have been raised up with Christ. (Colossians 3:1).
• I have been chosen of God, and I am holy and beloved. (Colossians 3:12).
Then Jesus also said:
2. I KNOW God’s purpose for my life.
I KNOW. . . . “where I came from and where I am going.” John 8:14 (New International Version)
I KNOW. . . . “I must be about my Father’s business.” Luke 2:49 (King James Version)
I KNOW. . . . “I must proclaim the Good News about God’s kingdom, for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43 (RSV)
I KNOW. . . . “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” John 10:10 (New Living Translation)
[Reflection: Since Jesus was so confident about what He knew, by using the way He thinks, what is it that we must be sure of in life. When we are asked about our faith and hope as we journey toward God’s destiny for our lives, what answer would the mind of Christ give us? Here are eight things we must be confident of:
3. I’M ALWAYS AWARE that God is with me.
“I am not alone because the Father is always with me.” John 16:32
“Jesus OFTEN slipped away to be alone so he could pray.” Luke 5:15-16 (New Century Version)
[Reflection: What did God and Jesus say that convinces us that we too are never alone, that they are with us always? Here are some things for us to keep in mind:]
“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (Easy-to-Read Version)
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be distressed, for I am your God. I give you strength, I give you help, I support you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah.” 41:10 (Complete Jewish Bible)
“Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord your God will be with you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (Living Bible)
“Adonai your God is right there with you, as a mighty Savior. He will rejoice over you and be glad, He will be silent in His love, He will shout over you with joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 (Complete Jewish Bible)
“Teach them to do all the things I have told you. And I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20 (New Life Version)
“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God said, ‘I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 (Living Bible)
“For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot! The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (New Life Version)
4. I LET GOD HELP ME choose my words.
“I have not spoken on my own. Instead, the Father who sent me tells me what I should say and how I should say it.” John 12:49 (God’s Word Translation)
[Reflection: In order for us to have a “spiritual vocabulary,” we must think like Christ when speaking to situations or answer questions about our lifestyle in Christ. To begin with, our words must transmit confidence, faith, courage, strength, humility, love, compassion, transformation, hope, prayer, gratitude, truth, praise, meditation, challenge, listen, joy, grace, rejoicing, inspiring, healing, peace, enlightenment, unity, and forgiveness. Then, all of these must be seen in us and practiced by us. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words..]
5. I DON’T WORRY ABOUT trying to please everyone.
“I only try to please the One who sent me.” John 5:30 (New Century Version)
“No one can serve two masters . . .” Luke 16:13 (New International Version)
[Reflection: Everyday we struggle with serving ourselves or serving God in the things we think, say, and do. When the disciples were caught arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God, Jesus rebuked them and said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35).
And for those who wanted to become His followers, He told them, to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for His sake, and for the sake of the Gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34-35).
And when Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about the cross, about suffering and death, in response Jesus says, “You are setting your mind not on divine things but human things. You are directing your attention not on God’s concerns, but your own selfish concerns.” (Mark 8:33).]
6. I DEPEND ON on God’s power instead of my own.
Jesus said to those who questioned His authority to teach and preach the message He carried. He told them: “I assure you, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what he sees his Father doing . . .” John 5:19 (New International Version)
[Reflection: The Apostle Paul is a good example of confessing that all of his success was owed to the power of Christ working in him. When he explained to the Philippians why he was able to persevere under all circumstances, he told them: “I know how to get along with little and how to live when I have much. I have learned the secret of being happy at all times. If I am full of food and have all I need, I am happy. If I am hungry and need more, I am happy. Christ is the One who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do.” Philippians 4:12-13 (Easy-to-Read Version).
That serves as a lesson to all of us that with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit being in us and with us at all times, we depend totally on their strength to get us through.]
7. I FORGIVE my enemies and those who hurt me.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (New International Version)
“Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those which despitefully use you or persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 (King James Version)
[Reflection: Since love is more than an emotional case of infatuation, it is an act of the will, then forgiveness must be the same. It’s one thing to tell someone you forgive them, but it’s another to back up those words with action. The two must go together for it to be believed. Forgiveness is the highest form of love. Furthermore, forgiving others is the prerequisite for forgiving ourselves. In the prayer that Jesus gave His disciples as an example on how to pray, it says, “Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.” Matthew 6:12 (Complete Jewish Bible)
This means that our lack of forgiving others breaks our fellowship with God. In another place, Jesus instructs His disciples, “So, what if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that someone has something against you? Leave your gift there and go make peace with that person. Then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (Easy-to-Read Version)
This means we owe others forgiveness even when they don’t ask for it. In fact, we owe forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it. When Stephen was being stoned for being a disciple of Jesus, he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.” Acts of the Apostles 7:60 (New Life Version).
Also, there are consequences for choosing not to forgive. In the story Jesus told about the man who was forgiven much by the king, but then had someone who owed him little jailed because he couldn’t pay, the king became angry and sent him off to the torture chamber. So Jesus said to His followers, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat you unless you each forgive your brother from your hearts.” Matthew 18:35 (Complete Jewish Bible).
On the other hand, when Peter came to Jesus and asked if there was a certain number of times we are obligated to forgive someone who does wrong against us. Peter asked if seven times was enough. Jesus answered and told him, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22 (God’s Word Translation).
In other words, the number of times we are to forgive never runs out. To put this in perspective, just think of how many times God has forgiven you since you became His child?
8. I AM WILLING to sacrifice for others.
“I am the good shepherd . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 (New Living Translation)
“I CAME here not to be served but TO SERVE OTHERS, and TO GIVE my life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for each other.” 1 John 3:16
[Reflection: When we fact adverse circumstances and must take action or must make a vital decision, whose interest do we think of first? Ourselves, or others who will be affected. Paul told the Philippians,
“Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.” Philippians 2:4 (Living Bible).
In another place, he told them, “Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (Common English Bible).
And to the Romans, Paul wrote: “I tell everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think in a way that results in sound judgment, as God distributed a measure of faith to each of you “ Romans 12:3 (Evangelical Heritage Version)
9. I WANT TO DO God’s will, not my own.
“I came. . . to do what God wants me to do, not what I want to do.” John 6:38 (New Century Version)
“I want the world to know that I love the Father and that is why I do everything exactly as the Father tells me to do.” John 14:31(New Century Version)
“Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36 (New Living Translation)
“Jesus humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death on a cross. So, God exalted him and raised him to the highest place, and made his name greater than every other name.” Philippians 2:8-9 (New Century Version)
[Reflection: In the prayer that Jesus gave His disciples as a model to follow, we are to pray, “May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (New Living Translation).
And when asked who would make it into heaven, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 (Evangelical Heritage Version).
When instructing the Romans on how to better serve God, he told them, “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature. Romans 12:2 (Common English Version).
The Apostle James put it another way: “Don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 (New Living Translation)
10. I THINK WITH AN eternal perspective.
“Jesus was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.” Hebrews 12:2b
[Reflection: No day should ever begin or finish without remembering that this life is only the beginning of our eternal existence. That’s why the Bible tells us to use our time wisely:]
Jesus said to His Father, “I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to.” John 17:4 (Living Bible)
“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.” Colossians 4:5-6 (|The Message)
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14 (New Living Translation)
“So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.” Ephesians 5:16-17 (Living Bible)
“So teach us to count our days, so that we will become wise.” Psalm 90:12 (Complete Jewish Bible)
HOW CAN I LEARN TO THINK LIKE JESUS?
• STUDY His life and words IN THE BIBLE
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. ” Hebrews 12:2a (The Message)
• ASK GOD TO SHOW ME the meaning of the text AND how it applies to my life today.
“Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.” Psalm 119:18 (Living Bible)
Jesus: “. . . the Spirit will take from what I have to say and make it known to you.” John 16:15
[Reflection: All of this has been designed for us to begin and continue to think like Jesus. Paul put it succinctly: “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. ”] Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message) – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 See also Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, and Colossians 1:2.