And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
A "submissive mind" is a mind that causes the believer to submit totally to the will of God and totally relinquishes his or her will for the cause of Christ. The greatest hindrance to a submissive mind in the live and testimony of the Christian believer is a “negative reactive" behavior in the midst of trails and tribulations. This causes the believer to have a "reactive" respond to these trials or tribulations in a “fleshy” way. Jesus told us in Matthew 16:33 that in this life we will have tribulations. There will be many things Satan and the host of demons in the underworld will do or attempt to do to afflict and derail the children of God from the mission God has set before them. There will be many situations and circumstances that will come against us because of our stance against the world’s system, Satan, sin and our belief in Jesus Christ as the true Messiah. Things will be said. Lies will be told. False accusations and horrendous persecutions will come. People will do things or at least try to us that are evil and cruel. The only way to stand and take a stand against the wiles of the devil besides putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6) is to have the submissive mind.
A submissive mind will seek to honor Jesus Christ despite any and all suffering that comes against us or who comes against our life and ministry. The submissive mind causes the believer to totally submit themselves to the will of God and let the perfect will of God be done in and through their lives and ministry, exemplifying the same mind and attitude Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:38- 41. Once the child of God operates in their life with a single mind toward God, that single mindset will lead them to have a submissive mind. A submissive mind to Jesus Christ allows us to fully experience the fellowship of the Spirit, bring unity among our fellow believers, strive to do the work of the ministry with a single mind and put the mission of Jesus Christ and the needs of others ahead of our own personal desires and ambitions. Paul pointed out several factors concerning Jesus Christ in Philippians chapter 2:6-9:
I. Jesus, though he was equal with God and in the form of God in every aspect, (possessing all of the attributes and fullness that makes God, God) did for the purpose of his part in God’s mission for the plan of salvation, humbled himself, (that is voluntarily stripped himself of his dignity and God privilege) and made himself a servant, becoming like men and allowed himself to be born as a man. Jesus came not to make a reputation for himself, he came to serve. (Mark 10:45) We should follow the example of Jesus. We are not saved by God and call into the ministry to make a reputation for ourselves. We are not called to Philanthropy though there is nothing wrong with becoming a Philanthropist. .We are called beyond the good works of Philanthrophy to serve the Lord though life dedication and doing good "mission" work for him in this present age. The only reputation we should seek and have in the public’s eye is the fact that we serve God and we are carrying out the work of the ministry to the people of God. We are living out our Christian beliefs in all sincerity as a witness and testimony to the world that we believe that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God and the Messiah for this world. Jesus said in Luke 6:44 a tree is known by the fruit it bears. As fruit bearers, (evangelist, pastors, ministers and teachers)it's imperative that we submit ourselves to the Lord, because any fruit we bear must come through him, otherwise we can’t bear any fruit on our own volition. Any good reputation we obtain comes through the work we do for Jesus Christ and the results of our diligent service for him in the world.
II. Jesus is the greatest example to this world in human flesh. Through Jesus Christ, we are shown God’s love and how he loved us so much, giving fallen man the only way of redemption through his son. In our quest to fulfill our God given mission to evangelize the world according to Matthew 28:19- 20, we must settle the "Gethsemane question": Will it be our will, or will we submit to God’s divine will? The answer is crystal clear: We must let God’s will be done. The only way we can do this is to be single-minded in life and in the purpose and ministry call we have because of the 'Lordship" of Jesus Christ and be willing to totally submit to the will and way of God. We must be willing to face the same kind of public scrutiny, public ridicule and persecution Jesus faced while he was here on earth. We must love God so much, that all that matters is his will be done on earth as it is already done in heaven. Persecutions, trials tribulations will be on every hand and many times, we will find it hard to understand why all the trouble? Why are we tested on every hand? Just remember if we start out with Jesus and humbly submit to the will of God, we will be victorious while that mission is being fulfilled and truly when the mission is over. We should only work to please God in every way and every thing we think, say and do.
III. Because he abased and humbled himself to this degree, (dying an humiliating, self sacrificing death on the cross at Calvary) God the Father exalted him and gave him a name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. If we live to please God and to present Jesus Christ to this dying world where many people are still unsaved, in due season, Christ will exalt us above and beyond where we are currently (spiritually and socially) are status wise in this world to where we rightfully should be in his eyes whether now, later, or in the new world to come. (1 Peter 5:6) Therefore, let this mind be in you that was also in Jesus Christ. We are constantly privy to witness (observe) on a regular basis many of those nonbelievers(atheist, Jesus haters, other religious factions) who exalt themselves before the public, only to see them all humbled in due season. The mind of Jesus Christ allows us to have joy and peace, even in the midst of every trying situation and will keep us from becoming too “full” of ourselves.
Isaiah Chapter 53 gives us a concise look at the ministry of Jesus Christ and why his dedication to the plan of salvation in our behalf required him to be submissive to the mind of God, to the extent that his submission to God’s ultimate plan meant that he was to give his very life for the fulfillment of it. We know that his death was part of the plan for the remission of sin, but looking at it from a human prospective, his dedication in the service of saving mankind was filled with sacrifice and suffering. The same was true for Paul and the same will be true for anyone who embraces a true Christian life. This is why Paul gives us 3 “keys” to having a submissive mind.
A. The "first key" is allow the Word of God to dwell within us and live by that "indwelling"Word. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, (Douay-Rheims translation) Paul exhorted the Church at Thessalonica for receiving the Word of God after it was given to them and embracing the “life” message it contained. Paul said when they heard “The Word”, they embraced it like it was words that didn’t come from men, but from God himself, (light and life) though the Word came through men. They embraced the Word and allowed it to become alive in them, changing their perspective on life and the way they would live their individual lives. They embraced it so much that they suffered willingly for its truths and the truth that Jesus Christ is the real Messiah in the hands of their fellow countrymen and non-believing Jews, who refused to believe in and embrace Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
The bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) The believer must first hear the Word of God. Then the believer must accept it as the truth about God, about Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, the way and truth of life, the plan of God for this world, the world to come, and the “only” means to have a proper personal relationship with our creator, Jehovah God. The believer must expect to have periods of suffering and persecution because of their Christian beliefs. Psalms 119:105 says the Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Understanding and embracing the Word of God helps the believer to become single minded toward God and to become submissive in mind toward Christ.
B. The "second key" is submit to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:16- 17 he would send the believer (disciple) another helper, the Holy Spirit to guide and live with and inside the believer. Jesus said in verse 27 the Holy Spirit will teach and bring everything Jesus said back to the remembrance of the believer. Paul told us in Ephesians 4:30 not to grieve the Holy Spirit because it is he that “sealed” us unto the day of redemption. The believer must not grieve the Holy Spirit but rather, embrace him and allow him to have complete control over all affairs of our lives. We must allow him to do the work Jesus Christ sent him to do through each one of us and guide us to every truth pertaining to God. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to have a submissive mind and become obedient, seeking only to honor God in all that we do and not seeking honor for ourselves in any way. We are to live as a “torch bearer” would, that is, carrying the Word of God, living by its precepts and principles and passing all of them on to others. We are to be submissive servants of God, serving this present age and fulfilling the calling God has placed upon our lives.
C. The "third key" is prayer. Prayer as defined by the Nelson Bible Dictionary is “communication” with God. With a submissive mind, the believer realizes there must be constant communication with God for direction, instruction, assurance, reassurance, and guidance in our everyday affairs as well as the ministry work each believer is charged by God to do. Working in ministry requires constant communication with God. The bible charges us to pray without ceasing and to be instant (always ready) to prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Our prayer life reminds us that we are totally dependent upon God for everything. Though we can pray and ask God for our needs, we are reminded that God knows what we need and what he want out of our lives better than we will ever know. Praying in submission says we will yield to what God requires and demands of us and will continue to do his will and his work, praying for others while we are waiting for the answer to our prayers.
No true believer in Jesus Christ can afford to live in any way that will hinder their prayer life or the answering of those prayers. One good indication of whether a believer has a submissive mind toward God or not sometimes is found in whether God answered their perspective prayer and in the kind of prayers they prayed. There are many hindrances to unanswered prayer: unbelief, (Hebrews 11:6) iniquity in the heart, (Psalms 66:18) rebellion to God’s Law, (Proverbs 28:9) estrangement of heart, (Isaiah 29:13) sinful separation form God, (Isaiah 59:2) offerings unworthy sacrifices, (Malachi 1:7- 9) praying to be seen by men, (Matthew 6:5- 6) having pride pertaining to fasting, praying and tithing, (Luke 18:11- 14) waywardness, (Jeremiah 14:10- 12) and double-mindedness. (James 4:3)
A submissive mind will keep the believer from yielding to these hindrances and it will root out all these conditions if they are found within their heart. The believer will quickly be compelled to repent, humble themselves under God’s mighty hand and then relinquish their mind and will to God once again. Praying not only makes a difference in the life of the praying person, but prayer makes a difference in the lives of the ones we prayed for. Paul prayed that the Philippian church would grow more in love and the increase in love they have be strengthen by their increased knowledge of Jesus Christ. He prayed they would strengthen their resolve, enabling them to discern the difference between those things that promote godliness and righteousness and those things that do not. (Philippians 1:9- 11) We too must pray for our growth and for the growth of fellow believers as well, that as we grow, we all will not only have a single mind toward Christ, but a submissive mind toward doing his will in and through our lives as well. Jesus said that we are light of the world. We are a city that has been set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14) A single minded, submissive minded Christian must give service and expect to sacrifice a life of comfort to do it. It’s all about Jesus and not about us.