“…Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27b
One of the most noticeable characteristics of many of the young men arriving at the Paul Anderson Youth Home is that they have a well established perspective that their problems are most often everyone else’s fault. They would not have any problems if it were not for the behavior and attitude of those around them; so they think. And all of us have to admit this characteristic is something with which we are quite familiar when we honestly and maturely evaluate our own tendencies. It is all too frequently an early if not the first thought when trouble of one kind or another invades our personal space. The fact that in some cases it is someone else’s fault only exacerbates the erroneous perspective that almost all “ripples in our pond are the result of someone else throwing rocks. Nursing and sustaining such a perspective is never a good thing; and it leads to a downward spiral in life rather than growth in the right direction.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity says the myriad of choices we make in life on a daily basis are a far greater thing than we realize in the minutia of life or the rage of the moment. He writes, “I would rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature; either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven; that is it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other. I would say Lewis is describing moving toward the realization of glory, the fulfillment of all God created you to possibly be, or moving in quite the opposite direction, away from it toward utter ruin.
Not blaming our ills on any one but ourselves is not something natural to our fallen nature. Such a radical departure from the tendencies that stalk us requires, the Apostle Paul says, a mystery unfolding within your own spirit, mind and emotions: “Christ in you, the hope of glory. It requires the knowledge and nurturing of Christ’s attitude in place of your own. An excellent description of His attitude and nature is found in Philippians 2. Inculcating this attitude of Jesus by prayer in the Spirit brings about a more instinctive consideration of your own culpability in a crucial moment before or in place of the culpability of your neighbor. Such may sound like it leaves you vulnerable to attack or denigration, weakening your own “rightful position. But this cannot be the case if you believe the words of the Savior. Rather it points you in the right direction, the actual experiencing of Christ in you, and a brighter and clearer hope of glory! Such an attitude is radical and flies in the face of all self-defenses and pride. But you will not find pride in Philippians 2; only in the prince and father of lies and all who follow in his train.
Dare to be radical!
“May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do and say.
“May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything, that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.”
“May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea; Him exalting, self abasing, this is victory.
(Verses 1, 3, 4 of Kate Wilkinson’s hymn, “May the Mind of Christ My Savior, 1925)
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