Monday, February 24, 2014
New mind, new perspective
Our sense of entitlement bumps into everyone else like a backpack
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
WE’RE beginning a focus this week on being the Body of Christ with this simple thought: we’re a body. What works for Jesus is being a body – being HIS body.
You have heard it before. It’s a familiar concept. You may relate to this idea in another sphere of life – part of a governing body, for example, or a decision-making body as a trustee perhaps, or as part of a voluntary body.
However, this kind of body – the one Paul was writing to Christians in Rome about – has a spiritual dimension and it requires a deeper understanding. In fact, we need our minds to be being renewed by the Holy Spirit to get it. That’s because he makes a challenging statement which cuts across all of our life experience, and what we know from work, and home life, and living in a neighbourhood.
How long have you lived in your village (or your part of town)? Ten years, 20 years, 30 years or more? That’s belonging. There’s some respect accruing to you there. What’s your position at work? And you’ve been there for a while? No wonder people look to you to answer questions. That’s life experience, and it entitles you to some respect.
Entitlement. That’s a piece of baggage we carry like a bulging backpack that knocks into everyone else. We think in terms of what we are entitled to. But Paul says, renew your thinking, now you are a Christian. Let the Holy Spirit give you His new persecutive. You’re part of a body and now, instead of what you are entitled to, it’s about what others are entitled to, coming from you.
It’s about honouring others and giving them a say, deferring to them. You have an idea – what do others think of that? How will it work for them? You want to take a lead in something – how does that sit with the rest? You’re fed up, have had enough, want to move on – but hold on, you belong to the others. You have responsibilities, others depend on you, others will feel the loss, need your support, however you might feel. How you feel isn’t the point.
It’s no longer just about what you think, as an individual. Paul says do not think of yourself more highly than you should – that’s wrong thinking – but take a view of the faith contribution you add to everyone else’s. That is renewed thinking, and it takes a little more maturity.
We need to be secure in who we are, in our Christian identity, and at that point we are able to let go of needing to prove anything – to the benefit of the working of the body. It’s not about the size of our backpack, and certainly not the size of our ego – it’s the size of our heart towards others.