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? You wake up one morning and discover that your 10 has surpassed your weight. You go from working yourself to death just for average grades to computing logarithms in your head and learning German, Russian, and Japanese simultaneously.
This is what happens to Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon, a story also told in an old movie called Charly. Thirty-two-year-old Charlie is a gentle, friendly guy who lives in a mental twilight zone. He can sort of read and write. But he knows he isn’t as bright as people around him. In fact, a lab mouse named Algernon in some ways seems more intelligent than Charlie.
When Algernon undergoes an experimental operation, he becomes a genius among mice. Charlie, after a similar operation, rockets from moron to genius. He now absorbs knowledge like a sponge, but the results aren’t all pleasant. Along with super-intelligence come self-centeredness, suspicion, and conflict with others-traits foreign to Charlie before the operation.
Then Algernon unexpectedly relapses, again becoming a run-of-the-mill rodent. When Charlie finds out, he’s smart enough to realize he faces the same fate. His brain power indeed fades, and he slides back to his mentally handicapped state.
When Paul talks about God “changing the way you think” in Romans 12:2, he isn’t asking you to go under the knife for a brain rearrangement. God isn’t looking to spike your brain power and tum you into a rocket scientist either. What he wants is to transform you into a person who thinks more and more like Jesus.
So exactly how does Jesus think? In a word, sacrificially. In Philippians 2:5-11, Paul calls us to possess the same attitude as Jesus, who left heaven’s glory, took on a human body, and sacrificed 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 his rights as God in order to meet our need for forgiveness and reconciliation. That loving attitude of sacrifice motivated Christ throughout his visit to our planet. And it’s the attitude God aims to cultivate in us.
You’re not Jesus. So what would a sacrificial attitude look like in you? For one thing, it’s so different from how the world acts that people would think you had your brain rewired. Human nature whines, “I want what I want when I want it!” But Christ’s sacrificial attitude says, “I give what you need when you need it.” Your generous, loving God will rearrange your brain as soon as you say “Yes!”
REFLECT: What will your brain look like when God gets done rearranging it?
PRAY: Father, build in me a Loving, sacrificial attitude Like the one Jesus had.
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