Christmas Greetings from Basic Training
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is a above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Phi 2:5-11
As we draw near to another Christmas season, bringing the end of another year of service, we want to assure our fellow-workers in so many places of our prayers on your behalf before the throne of God’s grace. The past year has brought its share of blessings and trials. God has proven Himself faithful to us as always. We have all had our share of victory and defeat in the spiritual battle. Yet in Christ we are more than conquerors! So as we reflect on the year past, and face the future in the assurance of our hope in Christ, may each of us commit anew to the import of the passage above, the key thought of which is, “Let this mind be in you”. May we each, to a greater degree, lay hold of the “mind of Christ”, to the glory of God.
1. It is a mind of surrender to the plan of God.
How eagerly we tend to cling to our assumed position of influence and importance! Yet Jesus, though eternally co-equal with the Father and the Spirit, did not regard His exalted position as something to cling to. May we learn to choose the lowliest place, instead of the place of honor.
2. It is a mind of selfless-ness for the sake of others.
Jesus emptied Himself of all that was to His advantage. He voluntarily set aside His power and privileges, in so far as they were to His benefit, so as to intervene in behalf of those who had no spiritual advantages whatsoever. May we learn to use our benefits more for the blessing of others.
3. It is a mind of solidarity with the weak and lowly.
Our Lord chose to identify Himself with the slave and the peasant, having nothing in His likeness or appearance to set Him apart. The common people loved Him because He was one of them. He shared their poverty, their scorn, and their contempt in the eyes of the mighty.
4. It is a mind of voluntary submission to suffering and shame.
Our Lord was known, as the prophet Isaiah foretold, as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His grief was not for Himself, but for the broken lives and oppressed souls among whom He moved. May we enter more fully into the pain and humiliation of those who come to us for help.
5. It is a mind of sacrificial offering through pain and death.
Jesus’ devotion was to the cross. This was the “hour” which captivated His mind throughout His earthly life. He urges us to take up the cross and follow after Him. It is only as we lose our life that we find it. May we come to see each of our sufferings and trials as preparation for the endurance we need to finish our race in a way that brings all honor to Him, not to ourselves.
As I observe how greatly I need to apply these principles to myself, I pray they may also be of help to each of you as you head into the coming year devoted to the service of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Nan and the board of Basic Training Bible Ministries join me in praying your hearts may be lifted and your arms strengthened, and that your every need may be met in the year to come. May the grace of the Father, the peace of the Son, and the Power of the Spirit be with you all.
Pastor Gene Cunningham
Basic Training Bible Ministries