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Occupy arrests, the NBA, and peace

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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New York City police officers arrest a protestor affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement as he tries to return to Zuccotti Park, in New York November 15, 2011. (Credit: Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

Peace is hard to find in today’s news.  Police arrested at least 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City this morning, citing health and safety issues.  Kim Kardashian’s attorney is claiming that her client’s marriage to Kris Humphries was real, even though it lasted only 72 days.  And the NBA season is now in jeopardy.  Commissioner David Stern described yesterday’s collapse of contract negotiations between players and owners this way: “We’re about to go into nuclear winter.”

Where do we find peace in tumultuous times?  Yesterday we claimed Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”  We learned that “mind” refers to our attitudes, thoughts, worries, and decisions; “steadfast” translates samak, “to lean upon.”  If my mind were submitted to the Holy Spirit this morning, what attitude would he produce in my life?

I think immediately of Paul’s statement to the Philippians: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).  What did he mean?  I just looked up “attitude” in the Greek–the word is phroneo, which refers to our mindset or disposition, our basic personality and approach to life.  What was Jesus’ phroneo?

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (vs. 6-7).  Jesus was divine in his very essence, seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, but he gave up his hold on his majestic throne.  He “made himself nothing,” volunteering to come to earth for us.  He chose “the very nature of a servant,” becoming a servant in his mindset, personality, and nature.

That’s why he washed the disciples’ feet, fed the 5,000, touched lepers, and forgave us from the cross–this was his nature, chosen for us.  Then, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross” (v. 8).  He chose to serve us by dying on our cross in our place, bearing our punishment and paying our debt so we could be forgiven and saved from hell for heaven.  What do you think Jesus would say about our consumer culture with its self-promoting spirit?

If serving others is my purpose and personality today, my “mind” will be “steadfast” and I will have God’s “perfect peace.”  As I write this essay to help you, to meet your needs, I sense the Spirit’s leading and peace.  If i write to impress you, to serve myself, I hinder the Spirit and lose his peace.  If my goal in all I do today is to serve others, I will enjoy the direction and peace of God.  If my goal is to advance myself, I am on my own.

How do you know if you’re truly a servant?  See how you react the next time someone treats you like one.

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