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 Go
The “single mind" is the kind of mind whose sole focus is on Jesus Christ and furthering the Gospel. It is extremely important that every believer in Jesus Christ possess this kind of mind. The reason this is a “must” for every believer is, if the believer possessed this kind of mind, he or she would rapidly mature in their spiritual growth, and will become a powerful and effective witness for the Lord Jesus, striving diligently and daily to live the “Christ centered” life God envisions for his servants. With the “single” mind, a “Christ centered” life will come despite any and all suffering the believer in Jesus Christ would encounter as a “satanic” response to their deeper commitment to Christ. The bible says in James 1:8 a “double minded” man is unstable in all of his ways. The “single” mind focused on Jesus Christ totally obliterates a “double mind" state and is concrete proof the believer is truly focused and stable in his walk with Christ and is not double minded in any way. This mind, the single mind, is essential to the believer becoming steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. It’s the kind of mind that will draw you nearer to God and becoming aware that God is drawn nearer towards you. (James 4:8) The single mind will cause the believing servant to think about and show more concern about the welfare of others believers and becoming more active in the furtherance of evangelizing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, even during your times of personal adversity, rather than focus upon any fiery trial you may be experiencing at the given moment.
Paul gave us a great “living” example of this while he was writing to the Philippian church. Paul wrote this epistle after he had been incarcerated in a Roman prison. He was beaten and bound for preaching the Gospel promoting Jesus Christ as the Savior. Even though the Judaizers who had him locked up in prison were constantly trashing his name and undermining his ministry for preaching about the Messiah Jesus Christ, Paul, bruised and battered behind prison bars still preached that same gospel to other prisoners and to the Roman prison guards and continued writing sermonic letters of encouragement and instruction to the surrounding churches. Though imprisoned once again, Paul still rejoiced for the gospel’s sake, showing more concern that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was still being preached, rather than whether it was being done in pretense or in truth. (Philippians 1:18) Paul did this, rather than focus on whatever else was happening to him personally.
Just like the Apostle Paul, we must too strive to exemplify this same single mindset by letting the mind that dwelled in Jesus Christ also dwell in us as well. (Philippians 2:5) When we truly allow the mind of Jesus Christ to rule and live actively in our hearts, we can show that we are single minded toward Jesus Christ and the Gospel in the following 3 ways:
I. In our Christian fellowship with others. The church’s creed declares that we are to watch over one another in brotherly love, remember each other in prayer and aid each other in sickness and distress. In chapter 1: 1- 11, Paul shows us how the single minded person entreats those fellow laborers in the faith.
First, we thank God for them and for the diligence they have displayed for the gospel and ministry of Jesus Christ, praying intercessory for each of them, letting them know just how special and endearing they are to us. We are letting them know that we have not forgotten them, despite any other ministry obligations or situations we may have. We are showing verbal and physical appreciation for what each one of them contributes to our growth in the faith and for their cooperation and diligence toward the total ministry, as well as their labor in love for Jesus Christ.
Second, we continue to encourage them to remain steadfast in the faith, reminding them that the work (sanctification process) that God started in their lives is not finished and God will finish developing and maturing them in the faith. (Philippians 1:7)
Third, we pray that they will continue to grow in the love of God and gain even more spiritual insight into the things pertaining to the work of the ministry, as well as strive to become morally sound in their personal lives. If they will do this, they will display a greater depth of love and a keener discernment to recognize the greater expectations of God, seeking to live purer lives; lives that are holy, lives that are unerring, lives that are filled with God’s righteousness and living blameless before God at all times. This means that they will strive to keep their bodies (mind and physical body) and spirit under the subjection of the Holy Ghost, preventing themselves from being used by satanic forces (demons and Satan himself) as instruments of unrighteousness, but rather as temples for the indwelling of God they were designed to be. (Romans 6:13) Not only this, but they would live in such a way that does not cause anyone else to stumble in the faith or be hindered by any improper behavior on their or our part. (Chapter 1: 9- 11)
2. In the furtherance of the Gospel. Acts 8: 4 tells us how the actual persecution of those “members of the way” empowered and compelled them in such a way that they continued to preach the gospel wherever they were. Paul, in verse 12 pleaded with the Philippian church not to lament over none of the persecution he suffered, but rather, see that his persecution for Jesus Christ was actually serving as a means to advance the preaching of the gospel message and strengthened his personal resolve to continue to preach about Jesus whether he remained in prison or was set free. Jesus told us all that we would suffer because of our belief and witness in him. Jesus tells us in John 16: 33b” in this world, we will have tribulation”, but we are to still be of good cheer despite persecutions because Christ had already overcome the world in our behalf.
` The truth is, we can still be public servants of the Lord no matter our age, stage or status in life. We can be bold, fearless witnesses in good times as well as bad, whether in bondage as or being set free from our bonds. With the “single” mind, we can be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. We can and must learn to look at all of our situations as “ideal” situations to minister and witness for God. We must look at all of our persecutions because we live and testify of Jesus as evidence that what we believe about Jesus Christ as being the true and living Messiah is right and is even worth dying for.
There are times when the very person or people being used by Satan to persecute you, revile you or say all manner of evil against you for the sake of Jesus Christ can still be won to Christ by your living testimony and Christ-like behavior around them. People are constantly watching you to see if you are truly living your life as a Christian ought to. They’ve heard what you publicly said about your belief about Jesus. Now they want to see if your life lines up with the testimony that came from your lips
In verses 13 and 14, Paul shares with us that even the imperial guard of Rome became influenced by his preaching, not just to the point of knowing the wrong that Paul was suffering by being imprisoned for his service to Christ or for his personal conversion experience, but also because they observed his fervent compassion and steadfast conviction for Jesus in every epistle (letter) he wrote to the churches. Because of his consistent Christian behavior, many of them were soon converted and became sympathizers. They realized his imprisonment was not really for any crime in the truest sense, (examples: murder, sedition, rape, etc.) but simply because he preached Jesus Christ as the way to the truth and the way to eternal life.
Many of our afflictions will come the same way. They will come simply because we are Christians and active in the proclamation of Jesus Christ as the “only” real solution to all the social, political and spiritual “ills” of this sin-filled and dying world. Paul said as the people continued to pray for him, he gathered more inner strength and in some ways, their prayers also encouraged him to continue the mission no matter what odds he faced. He said their prayers were a help in the furtherance of advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and were in keeping along with his personal desire to boldly speak to the world about Jesus and glorify Jesus Christ in his life also, whether living or dying.
3. In the faith of the Gospel. In verses 26 through 30, Paul told the church they should exhibit so much faith in living for Christ, that simply “living out” our Christian convictions and beliefs of the gospel will have such a tremendous and profound effect on the world as well as on us.
` First, our convictions should be lived fully in our personal lives. When we live in faith by the Gospel, the Gospel will have a tremendous effect on our manner of conversing one to another. According to the bible, we are to let all of our conversations (the type of conversations we engage in and the actual words we verbally speak) reflect the fact that we are indeed Christians. We must shun profane babblings and vile speech, because this will lead to more ungodliness if we don’t. (2 Timothy 2:16) We must speak words of encouragement and truths, and allow God to use all of our verbal conversations as blessing to other believers and perspective new converts to Jesus Christ. We ought not to engage in fallacies and unfounded rumors, which ultimately will bring down upon us rebuke or a curse. We should be slow to speak, yet swift to hear. (James 1:19)
` Second, we are to conduct our lives in a manner that truly reflect our real stance on living for Jesus. We should let our lives become “visual” testimonies to the world around us. This current world and its people seem to have no problem living their lives in a manner that reflect their “worldly” beliefs and views. Because of this, their behaviors amplifies the need for the Christian to live an equally amplified, Christ centered life reflecting every attribute of God’s character given to us through the “fruit” of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22- 26)
In Philippians 1:27a and c, Paul exhorts the church to make sure as citizens in this world to conduct our personal lives publicly in a way that will make us worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason this is necessary is, the effects of our Christian citizenship will be echoed among the public in such a way that will say that we (the church) stand firm, united in God’s spirit and purpose, striving together, side by side and contending together in one single mind for the faith of the Gospel.
Third, we are not to be intimidated or even frightened by our adversaries, spiritual or otherwise because if we don’t, this will serve as a sure sign that their destructive end is near and will also become evidence and sure token to the world of our deliverance and salvation, and the fact that they both came from God. (1: 28)
Finally, our “living” faith is a reminder that we have been granted a glorious privilege for the sake of Christ to believe in the gospel, to live our lives according to that same gospel, to rely on and trust solely in God, and to suffer for the cause of Christ.