The 21st century is the period after the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and is the period we currently living in. The believers inthe 21st century face many challenges and distractions that affect their relationship with Christ. These can be in the form of daily life challenges, distraction through social media, television, government policies and regimes, and the different types of religions around the world and emigration. Therefore, it is of importance that believers must resemble the Christ like attitude and mindset in such times. Some of the characteristics or traits of Christ include servant hood, humility, obedience, righteousness, long suffering, perseverance and love for others. Christ being the son of God made himself nothing in the world for the sake of us. Therefore in this 21st century it is important for believers to put interest of others first, that is the mindset and the attitude Christ. This paper seeks to explain how Christians of these times can serve Christ and portray a Christ like mindset amongst the communities they serve.
UNDERSTANDING 21ST CENTURY
The 21st century is the period we are currently living in. The book of Timothy “2 Timothy 3 best describes the 21st century. The above the 21st century is characterised with the rise of anti-Christ and his agents and the rise of self-styled prophets who present false gospel which lead believers astray and confused. We witness people being more interested in things like social media, television, which take their attention from Christ.
The earth now has many people who believe in humanism as their believe more in their wisdom than God, money over God or because they have been through uncomfortable things and hence believe there’s no God. Because of this there’s rise in atheism, amorality and beliefs in science (LaHaye: 1980:50).
Atheism is the belief that there’s no God and this has led to the worship of man’s wisdom LaHaye; 1980). This has led to man trying to find happiness now not beyond the grave. This has happened mostly because some Christians that were served but not taught well enough and when the storms came they were not strong enough and at the end felt like God wasn’t doing enough for them and hence opting to believe in their ways and not God. Also this category has people that have never known Christ (the unreached).
The humanistic point of view has also led to high levels of amorality as it has destroyed the Gods order of doing things. It has led to things like easy divorce, abortions, sex education at schools, homosexuality as an optional lifestyle, marijuana and drugs (LaHaye 1980). These are certainly not advocated by bible based churches but by humanistic educators, lawmakers and judges.
The above issues therefore shape the society we live in; hence it is important that as Christians to have the mind of Christ to base our thoughts and decisions based on the bible. The bible and the Holy Spirit is the one that will shape us in this current dispensation.
UNDERSTANDING THE MINDSET OF CHRIST
The mind of Christ is the submissive mind. According to Hunt (2007, p39),”The mind of Christ means the attitude of Christ exhibited.” Philippians 2:6 -8 best describes the mind of Christ.From the script above we derive the traits or the mindset of Christ includes humility, longsuffering, love, and godliness.
According to Spring (1960), ‘to truly appreciate the depths of humiliation to which the Son of God stopped in His Incarnation, we must contrast His earthy existence with what of His heavenly’. This therefore demonstrates who Christ is, as God but humbled Himself to save us. He did not value His own himself or honour, but freely gave it up in every situation so that God’s will could be carried out and God could be glorified through His life.
Christ being the King and the son of the most High God he lowered himself to serve the interests of his people and serve the world (Barclay 1975). He made himself nothing for the sake of others. Christ demonstrated being a servant at the last supper where He washed the foot of His disciples at the table. When He fed the five thousand people, His disciples had resolved to send the people away with empty stomachs but Jesus demonstrated care and servant hood by providing them with food
Jesus became obedient to the point of death. He became nothing for the sake of us. He obeyed for the will of His Father to take place even though it was painful. Christ glorified God in everything that He did. Matthew 26 v 39 demonstrates how Jesus obeyed His father because if it was up to Him He wouldn’t have gone to the cross. While on the cross he also remained obedient and called on the name of the father (Berends: 2001)
According to Horne (1960:2), ‘Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom’. That’s the kind of love that needed amongst us as believers, to prefer to serve because we love. Christ had love for the people in that he shed His blood for everyone to be redeemed.
THE CHRISTIAN MIND
A first and fundamental characteristic of a truly Christian worldview which must inform the Christian mind is the doctrine of the fall. With the inroads of secularism in our culture it has become difficult for people to have a Christian mind (Madany 1994:1). The mind is very important in every Christian life as the bible emphasise us to love God and to consecrate our minds in His service and the effects of the fall at the Garden of Eden mentioned in Genesis 3. It is therefore important for Christians to develop and learn from the mind of Christ as mentioned in Philippians 2:5. Our failure to grasp the mind of Christ and understanding what the scripture will lead secularism to overtake us and have carnal minds (Summer 1994:20).
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Based on the research by summer 1994, the basic fundamentals in Christian minds are the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of the fall, the doctrine of redemption by Christ and the appropriation and assimilation of the biblical teachings. These form the basis or shape the basis of the Christian mind. The form also the believers basis of their faith in Christ Jesus and brings us to the acknowledgement of Christ as the supreme power and the model to be followed in the 21st century.
For us to understand Christianity we need to understand what happened at the beginning (at creation) (Genesis 1:1). This brings us to understanding who God is and His purpose for humankind. Over the centuries evolution theories have been proposed like Darwinism that erode the value of who God is and made some to lose faith in God and such theories has some devastating effects on Christians especially morals. Understanding the purpose of God helps us to acknowledge who God is and our minds are shaped by that. (Madany 1994)
The second most important aspect is the doctrine of the fall (summer: 1994) First we need to come to agreement that we all have sinned and rebelled against God. We cannot claim to have a Christian mind without us accepting and reflecting on that condition. Men always try to justify their actions for wrongful behaviour (secularism and individualism). Therefore, by us accepting that, we create in us the mind that seeks the help which can be found in Christ.
A third basic and fundamental characteristic which must inform the Christian mind is the fact of redemption which has been accomplished by the incarnation of the Son of God, His ministry, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension (Madany:1994). If we acknowledge who Christ is in our lives he abides in us and we get transformed in our minds Romans 12:2. When we have Christ our minds are under the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit and Christ refused to make his message culturally correct. According to Summer (1994:24), [we face the same to the doctrine of redemption by cultural elites who control the arts, the media and the universities. While they are willing to consider what non-Christian worldviews may have to offer, they dismiss the Christian worldview as one which has been outmoded or discredited by the discoveries of Morden science.]
According to Summer (1994), the fourth characteristic is the appropriation and assimilation of the biblical truths and end times. Our cultures are mainly concerned about things of here and now (secularism). It’s all about preparing for our eternal life. Our plans shouldn’t be of now like the secular world but look at the bigger picture that God has for us. It’s about the message of hope for a better future as we await the second coming of our saviour and staying in the promises of the Holy Spirit.
Paul is the perfect example of a believer in Christ who lived after the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul when He was arrested Acts 16 vs. 25 – 30 it shows the leadership of Paul and his selflessness in putting the interests of others above self. They didn’t run away but he stayed put with other prisoners and ordered the Jailer not to harm himself as everyone was there. It shows sense of responsibility Paul had over others. In his evangelical journey it wasn’t easy but he continually prayed and worshipped demonstration that His source of strength was only from God. He always pointed people to Christ and encouraging them to Christ every time. The Apostle Paul says, “He delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His son” (Colossians 1v13) and everyone who has passed from death unto life is able to set to his seal that God is true.
Contemporary significance (Application)
According to Lahaye (1980:48), ‘any philosophy text will show that the major questions of man have universally been; Who am I? Where did I come from?, Why am I here?, Where am I going? How can I get there?’ This therefore forms the intellectual basis for the believers in this century and determines their way of living. The questions in the Christians context helps us to understand who we are in Christ, understand that we have all sinned and need the grace of God, creates in us the desire to know and serve God and also directs us in the way to think through studying of his teachings. This therefore becomes the basis of our thinking.
Our responsibility on this earth is to serve God as our creator, saviour and as he provided us with the wisdom to live by (LaHaye 1980). Also our chief purpose is to give God the glory by obedient and serving our fellowman (Rev 4:11). This therefore brings happiness, fulfilment and content as compared to those who practice secularism.
When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. To think and live a Christian way is aboutacknowledging the identity and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Lockerbie 1986).
Also think like a Christ, one must have a starting point (Psalms110:10) Proverbs 1; 7) that is to get wisdom and knowledge about Christ. Therefore one needs to first understand the source of the wisdom and to respect and recognise it. This therefore calls for reverence and worshipful humility before God (Lockerbie: 1986)
Paul says, Christ is His divine saviour, the reason why he believed the bible is because it the voice of God to his Saul. We may have the weakness to ourselves that the bible is true, that the Christ is the Son of God. We know that we are not following cunningly devised stories.
The children of God are called to be representatives of Christ. As Jesus has revealed to us the true character of a son, so we are to reveal Christ to a world that does not know His tender, pitying love. Christians are set as light bearers on the way to heaven. They are to reflect to the world the light shining upon them from Christ.Their life and character should be such that through them others will get a right conception of Christ and of his service. I f we do present Christ, and have the mind of Christ, we shall make His service appear attractive, as it really is.
In summary believers of this time need Christ more to survive in this 21st century. We need to abide in Christ, pray without ceasing and learn the ways of the Holy Spirit. This will help us to overcome the devil and the challenges of the world and have Christ likemind-set
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- Berends B.2001. The obedience of Jesus Christ: A defence of the doctrine of Christ Active Obedience
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- LaHaye T,1980. The battle for the mind: A subtle warfare. Fleming H. Revel Co. USA.
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