Pastoral Perspectives

In Sync With Christ

After eating a big meal, we often say that we will not eat like that again for the next few days. But soon enough, we return to eat after the food is digested. Likewise, we may often find ourselves unable to keep our words after the euphoric moment has passed. It can be true of our spiritual life too.

We have just ended our preaching series through the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls, the temple and the community despite many setbacks and oppositions. We have seen his faith in God triumph over the many obstacles that came his way. The restored community of God worshipped God, read His word, wept over their sins and committed to be faithful to God.

The history of the Israelites is pretty much like our own spiritual journey. God has been faithful throughout the ages. He has kept his word that He will be our God and we will be His people if we obey Him. Many of us have tasted God’s goodness in our lives. We have experienced His mercies daily. Whenever we experience a spiritual high, we may also make promises to remain faithful to God in certain aspects of our lives. Like the Israelites, we also fail to keep our promises and often return to our old ways. Our sinful nature makes us prone to wander and forget the vows we have made to God. Once we descend from the mountain top to deal with the mundane routines of life- same old people and same old issues, it can be frustrating because not everyone may experience the same euphoria like us.

Nehemiah remained deeply devoted to God and his faith was not shaken by the circumstances surrounding him. He was wholly committed to serve the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind. How can we remain faithful to God likewise?

One of the songs for our worship service today is “May the Mind of Christ My Saviour” written by Kate Barclay Wilkinson who was born in 1859 in England. The song is based on Philippians 2 where Paul exhorts the believers to emulate or imitate Christ who committed himself to serving undeserving people at a great cost. Without adopting Christ’s attitude, it will be impossible to accomplish what God wants us do- to be one in mind, love and accord with others. Left to our own, we will put our own interests above the interests of others.

Christ has set the example for us of living a life of pure love and pure service to others. We may often falter and our actions may fall short of our own promises but with God’s help, we can let the mind of Christ rule over us.

The song is a prayer for the various aspects of the will of Christ in our lives. Originally there are six stanzas and were intended for each day of the week leading to Sunday. As we go about handling different situations, we can ask ourselves how best we may handle them with the mind of Christ in us.

Verse 1 reminds us that we need the mind of Christ to do his will daily so that all that we do or say reflects Christ. Christ love and power must control our words and actions.

May the mind of Christ my Saviour
Live in me from day to day
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say

Verse 2 reminds us that God’s word must dwell in so that we can find true joy only in Him and not the pleasures of the world.

May the word of God enrich me
With His truth from hour to hour
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power

Verse 3 teaches us that God’s peace must rule our hearts so that we can bring peace and comfort to those who are in grief and pain.

May the peace of God my Father
In my life for ever reign
That I may be calm to comfort
Those in grief and pain

Verse 4 reminds us that we must be reconciled with God as His love is perfected in us. Then we can let Christ increase and we decrease which is the ultimate victory that genuine faith brings.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea
Him exalting self-abasing
This is victory

Verse 5 is a timely reminder that without God’s strength, we cannot face the enemy. Like Nehemiah, we can run the race and face the obstacles that might come our way if we keep looking to Jesus.

May I run the race before me
Strong and brave to face the foe
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go

Verse 6 teaches us that when Christ dwells in us, our lives will reflect and influence others to look to Him too.

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek to make Him known
So that all may look to Jesus
Seeing Him alone

May the mind of Christ our Saviour dwell in us all.

Pr Loliro Sani

August 22, 2021