Thought for the week

Thought for the Week provides a Verse, Thought and Prayer for the week ahead.  We trust you will find these helpful and encouraging in these times.

Verse for the week:

Philippians 2:5-7

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 But made himself nothing (literally emptied himself) ……

Acts 2:4

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit ……

Thought for the week:

empty …… filled

One definition of the word “attitude” is, “a tendency or orientation, especially of the mind, a mindset.”

Psychologists tell us that our attitudes (mindsets) can be positive, negative, neutral or “sikken” (I didn’t know either, but apparently a “sikken” attitude is not just negative, but very destructive, with a tendency to destroy everything resembling a positive attitude)

But maybe, for Christians, there are more simple definitions:

  • The same as that of Christ Jesus, or
  • Not the same as that of Christ Jesus

Attitudes drive actions. Paul tells the Philippian Christians that their attitude, or mindset, should be like that of Jesus, whose attitude was to make himself nothing, and whose actions were to empty himself, become an obedient servant.

Now let’s be honest, our tendency or mindset is very rarely to make ourselves nothing, to empty ourselves and become the servant of God, and others. Isn’t it true that far too often we adopt the same attitudes as the society in which we live? Holding on to our rights, convinced of our “rightness”, demanding our entitlements, longing for recognition and praise, harbouring feelings of “superiority” …… rather than the attitudes of the One we claim to follow?

We say we long to be filled, but here’s a thought: “Can we ever be filled if we are not prepared, or are not brought, to the point where we empty ourselves?” And can we be brought to that point without the influence of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus died, rose again, appeared to and shared time and food with those who had followed him …… then left and ascended into heaven. I can’t imagine how empty they must have felt. But was it necessary for them to be emptied before, at Pentecost, they were filled with the Holy Spirit? Could it be that to fulfill Jesus’ command to “go into all the world” they needed to have this change of attitude, or mindset?

Eugene Peterson writes,

“Emptiness is the prelude to filling …… a bucket, no matter what wonderful things it contains, is of no use for the next task in hand until it is emptied(A)

Is now the time? Are we ready?

[(A) The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction ©1993 by Eugene H Peterson]

Prayer for the week:

“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you.” [Romans 12:2]

Holy Spirit

Remind me of all that Jesus said and did; help me to fix my eyes on him.

Help me to empty myself, then come and fill me,

Transform me,

Prepare me for the next task in hand, whatever it may be.

I ask in Jesus’ name,

Amen.