Bible Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2
How would you like to be smart-really smart? Picture this: You wake up one morning and find you have suddenly become the most brilliant person alive. Yesterday you were struggling to master fourth-grade math. Today you’re being offered jobs around the world as a rocket scientist.
That sudden rise to total smartness is what happens to a guy named Charlie in the story Flowers for Algernon (and an old movie called Charly). Thirty-two-year-old Charlie is gentle and friendly—but not very smart. He can read and write—well, sort of. He knows he isn’t as bright as people around him. In fact, in the story there’s a white lab rat named Algernon who in some ways seems more intelligent than Charlie.
When Algernon undergoes an experimental operation, the rat becomes a genius among mice. Charlie Gordon goes through a similar operation and also becomes a genius. But the results aren’t all pleasant. Along with superintelligence comes self-centeredness, distrust, and a habit of arguing with others, traits Charlie had never shown before the operation.
When Paul says in Romans 12:2 that God wants to change the way we think, he isn’t saying we should have brain surgery. God isn’t looking to spike our brain power and turn us into members of a geniuses-only club. He wants to change us into people who think more and more like Jesus.
So exactly how does Jesus think? He thinks like a servant who is willing to give up his own interests, even his own life, for others.
In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul tells us to have the same attitude as Jesus, who left heaven’s glory, was born in a human body, and gave his life on the cross for us. Nobody forced Christ to live among us and die for us. He did it voluntarily. He set aside all his rights so we could be forgiven and be friends with God.
So what does Jesus’ attitude look like in us? For one thing, it’s so different from how many people act that folks will think we’ve had our brains rewired. We go from whining for our own way to watching for ways to please others. We change from looking out for our own needs to looking out for the needs of people all around us.
That’s a loving attitude! It’s the attitude of giving that motivated Christ during his entire visit to our planet. And it’s the change of mind God wants to do in us!
TALK: What will your brain look like when God gets done rearranging it—when he has built Christ’s attitude of servanthood in you?
PRAY: Father, build in us a loving, giving attitude like the one Jesus had.
ACT: Do something for someone else today that demonstrates that God has rearranged your brain!