Is anyone else sick and tired of seeing or hearing ugly antics from people who claim to love and follow Jesus?
With all the opportunities to access news media, it seems people with harsh attitudes consistently grab the headlines in their politics, their ideas about social issues, or what is wrong or right. Quickly lines are drawn and people, families, and relationships become shattered as sides are taken.
Many years ago there was a popular campaign with the slogan: WWJD or “What Would Jesus Do?” The idea was a catchy and compelling way to help people respond to life and others as Jesus would do. Unfortunately, what was sometimes lost in this noble ascent was the whole idea of learning and exploring all the things that Jesus actually did.
In the Bible, Paul wrote a letter to the Philippian church encouraging them to live like Jesus even when they faced hard times or opposition. Paul knew tough times and suffering as he was in jail awaiting a Roman trial. Paul was in chains for preaching about the Good News of Jesus Christ and he actually found joy in this tough situation.
He then encourages the church to live like Jesus. In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul writes, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Paul is telling the church to have the same attitude as Jesus as did when he lived on the earth. Jesus, being fully God and living as a man, modeled this amazing love in all his relationships. Jesus could have wielded his power as God to forcefully change people, but he came in humility and modeled being a servant. His “mindset” or attitude was to love others with grace and truth so that in so doing they would be drawn into a relationship with God.
This relationship was possible because Jesus was obedient to die on the cross for the things that have separated humanity from being in relationship with God. Followers of Christ can live out the attitude of Christ by lovingly engaging with others who see things differently. Grace and truth can be shared even when there are opposing views and when one studies the life of Jesus we find Jesus actually did that!
Frank Alioto is the pastor of The River Covenant Church: “An Alaskan church for people who would rather come to the River.” We gather on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at K-Beach Elementary in Soldotna. Call 252-2828 or visit www.therivercovenantchurch.org.