The seriousness of this attempt and the effort needed to achieve it is indicated by several scriptures. Paul asserting that, “Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 Insisting that, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 That same terminology used when he explained, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, (not perfect but no longer ruled by uncontrolled passions and our natural inclination to sin either) because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Romans 6:6,7 Any understanding of what crucifixion entailed bringing to mind great sacrifice; being offset ultimately by greater gain in our life in Christ.
As a result, “Your attitude should be (or become) the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 But what was that? The answer summed up in large part through two other scripture references, showing the essence of Christianity to be that of selflessness in our love and attitude toward others. Jesus himself declaring, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34,35 Paul admonishing us then to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
What’s the price of an attitude like that? What does it cost us to relate to others that way? Self-gratification, discipline, setting priorities, a willingness to sacrifice? But the making of any good thing into a great one involves effort. So what’s to be gained? God’s approval, peace of mind and a heightened sense of real value and worth as the way we perceive pepople, relate to others and treat those about us is changed for the better. Ultimately the way people see us and treat us will be improved as well.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined “cheap grace”, which is so prevalent in our society today as grace without the cross. (Richard Niebuhr contending that many liberals throughout society cling to the belief that, “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”) Bonhoeffer in particular knew what he was speaking of. As a German Lutheran theologian during WWII, he took a vocal, public stand opposing the Nazi onslaught against anyone who disagreed with Hitler’s program of social reconstruction and ethnic cleansing. He paid the price for his witness in persecution, loss of employment and finally execution in a concentration camp. He truly shared Paul’s desire, “…to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10 By speaking for the down-trodden, associating with the outcast, living in grace and dying for truth; he realized the price paid by Christ on the cross of Calvary and the cross we are likewise called to carry by Christ; who challenged us to do so by declaring, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34,35
Singer, songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman having a good take on what some of that might entail.
“I can reminisce about the already , I can worry and fret about the not yet
But when it all comes down I know it really – really comes down to the right now.
So right now… I’m living the next 5 minutes – Like these are my last 5 minutes
‘Cause I know the next 5 minutes may be all I have.
And after the next 5 minutes – Turn into the last 5 minutes
I’m taking the next 5 minutes and starting all over again!”
“Be very careful then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity.” Eph. 5:15,16
“Next 5 Minutes” – Steven Curtis Chapman c1999 Sparrow Song/Peach Hill Songs
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