by David Newby
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…" Philippians 2:5
The wrong mindset or attitude in any situation, work, family or church, can be crippling and even totally destructive.
A wrong mindset can become a toxic attitude, infecting and affecting the whole church.
In Romans, chapter 12 Paul refers to the renewing of our minds as being essential to freedom from conformation to the world systems, the world's values and methods around us.
The Bible has a number of classic illustrations which reveal some of the worldly mindsets that can directly affect ministry in the Church.
1. Jacob (Genesis chapters 29-31)
Jacob wanted rulership of his father's house (the birthright). He wanted the pre-emminence over his brother Esau.
He was prepared to use deception to obtain it, and he found a willing accomplice in achieving his goal.
The birthright meant power, influence and wealth. It meant servants – to serve Jacob, that is. "May peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you." (Gen 27:29)
Gen 27:37 "And Isaac answered Esau and said 'I have made him your lord, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants'…."
If you seek ministry or position for these reasons then prepare yourself for a long apprenticeship under Uncle Laban which will hopefully culminate in you experiencing a face to face encounter with God at Peniel. (Gen 32:30)
This changed Jacob from being an arrogant, scheming deceiver into a humble, gentle man with a servant heart.
Under Laban, he reaped for 20 years what he had sowed in a moment. Laban cheated, deceived and lied to him constantly throughout this period.
Your choice- get rid of the Jacob pre-emminence mindset or suffer.
2. Joseph (Genesis chapters 37-45)
Joseph received a dream from God in which he saw his brothers bowing down to him. Since he was his father's favourite son anyway, this all made sense to his egocentric world view.
He told his brothers what the future held, and earned their hatred as a result. Perhaps he did this in a proud or boasting way. Whatever was in his heart came out, and all his older
brothers despised him for his attitude and superiority mindset.
His mindset earned him a visit to a desert pit, a camel ride to Egypt and then years of slavery and imprisonment.
God allowed all this so that he could accept his brothers as equals and forgive them for their harsh treatment, so that their lives could be saved.
Sometimes God speaks to us about the future, not for us to boast or skite about, or even to talk about, but so that we can diligently prepare for that calling in every part of our lives.
The goal of Joseph's trials was for him to finish up with a servant's heart.
Learn from Joseph – get a servant's heart and save yourself the trip to Egypt.
3. Absalom (2 Samuel 14,15)
Absalom set his heart on the top job, and did everything to obtain it.
He was very handsome. He used his appearance and especially his hairdo to attract attention to himself.
He had a magnetic personality. He loved being with people and talking to them. His father, King David, was often too busy with the affairs of state to be able to personally talk to his subjects, so Absalom subtly intercepted them on their way to the king and won their hearts by his effusive friendship and assistance.
He also sowed seeds of discontent into people's hearts about the king and his being too busy to care about his subjects anymore. But he made sure people knew that HE would always be there for them.
He gathered around him a band of favourites who promoted and protected him.
How many church splits have occurred through the mindset and spirit of Absalom?
If you want the top job – forget it, die to it! It belongs to Lord Jesus alone.
If you have a great personality, great gifts and abilities, a great circle of friends, then use your influence to lead people to Jesus, to bring believers into His life-flow. Extend His kingdom, don't try to build one for yourself.
If you are in a congregation where there is discontent, use your influence to mediate between parties, to bring healing, reconciliation and release, and not to further your own personal crusade for recognition and position. This will always allow God to work out His purposes in His ways because we are out of the way! (1 Peter 5:6)
4. Rehoboam (1 Kings Chapter 12)
Israel had been united as one nation for over 70 years under David and Solomon. After Solomon died, Rehoboam became king in his place. The people wanted a relaxing of the burdens previously applied to them through taxes and other royal levies.
Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served Israel for a long time. They advised him to conciliate and provide relief for the burdens of the people. They said, "If you will be a servant to this people today, and serve them, and speak good words to them, and grant their petition, then they will be your servants forever…."
Rehoboam rejected the elders counsel and then consulted with the young men, his peers with whom he had grown up and who served him. They advised him to warn the people that his rule would be harsh compared to his father's, the burdens being greater than ever before. The result was quite predictable. Israel was split into the northern and southern kingdoms.
The foolishness of Rehoboam stemmed from his desire to rule in his own way. He rejected the advice of the elders because he had already made up his mind about what style of rulership he was going to impose on his people.
He then looked for the advice of those who he knew thought the same way as he did, or more dangerously, those who would say what he wanted to hear.
If you are in leadership in a church, gather to yourself those who do not see things the same way you do. Those whose perspective may be wider or different than yours. But especially those who can be objective and speak their minds without fear. You definitely do not need yes-men around you.
I don't mean that you include on your team argumentative, obstinate, bigoted, unteachable or tunnel-vision people. Use commonsense in this regard, but don't just get people who you are comfortable with. Disagreement and differences of opinion can be healthy as we seek the mind of the Lord for answers and direction.
Encourage their open expressions by not reacting to what they say. Do not alienate them if they regularly express opinions different to your own. Instead, get closer to them, spend time with them socially as well as in fellowship. You will be amazed at how you begin to understand what they are saying as you get to know them and find out where they are coming from.
“Don’t judge anyone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins.” (Old Indian saying)
Perhaps the way you want the church to go is not the best way. Most likely the Lord will speak through the body if we will give Him the opportunity. Learn to listen to what people are saying. Don't always answer back immediately. Often we need time to assimilate what has been said, but we don't give ourselves the opportunity because of impatience or defensiveness.
5. The Older Brother (Luke Chapter 15)
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son we meet the nameless character we call the Older Brother.
His younger brother had backslidden and wasted his life in the world. Suddenly his younger brother had returned, and had been accepted and promoted by their father into fellowship again.
He was enraged at the mercy and grace of his father. He would not meet or accept his brother back into the family.
It is like the older Christian who watches young people come into the church and, in what seems no time at all, they are song leading, testifying, preaching, etc. It is too easy to harbour an attitude of "what would he know?" or "who does he think he is talking like that or teaching about this and that….?"
Don't become embittered when God raises up another ahead of yourself. Don't shut out people whom God enables when you think that you should have been next in line for promotion, especially since you have been so faithful for so long…….
Rejoice, join in, encourage them. This may be the turning point in your own life. How can you expect others to rejoice in the release of your ministry if you do not take pleasure in that of others? If you reject them, perhaps you are rejecting Him that sent them?
All of these attitudes and mindsets will work against the harmonious operation of body ministry or team ministry. The flow of Holy Spirit controlled direction in meetings will be greatly hindered. The Word of God will be stifled.
Allow God to deal with these mindsets and spirits in you so that you can be free.
This was taken from the authors book "THE BUBBLE WILL BURST"
David M. Newby