SHAWNEE — Speaking with passion and energy, Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter implored Oklahoma Baptist University students to renew their minds in Jesus Christ during a chapel message Monday in the school's Raley Chapel.
Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, became the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June. He is no stranger to Oklahoma Southern Baptists. He was a guest speaker at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's annual Evangelism Conference in January 2012, and OBU leaders presented him an honorary doctorate in theology just a few days before his historic election to the SBC presidency last June.
Monday, he spoke about “The Importance of Having a Renewed Mind,” based on Philippians 2:5-8. He told the OBU community that he believes in victorious living — not only being saved from hell in the future, but in abundantly living for Jesus Christ now.
“There is not a moment in the life of the believer when our mind is not being tempted by the devil,” Luter said.
He quoted 1 Peter 5:8 which says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Luter said each Christian believer, by the end of every day, can find himself or herself “seduced, enticed, bamboozled” and even “punked” by the enemy, Satan.
He provided examples from throughout the Bible of individuals who were close to God and yet fell to the temptations of the devil, including Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Noah, Jacob and David.
“All of us understand and realize, if we're honest with ourselves and we take off the masks and take off the halos, sitting right here in this chapel … are men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, singles and seniors, teenagers and teachers, members and guests, pastors, preachers, professors and students whose minds have been attacked by the enemy,” Luter said. “We must have a renewed mind.”
Luter said a renewed mind should help a Christian think about Christ. He quoted Philippians 2:5-6, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.” Luter said Jesus Christ humbled Himself, and everything He did was to benefit others.
A renewed mind also should help Christian believers think about every choice and decision, Luter said.
“It's all about choices,” Luter said. “Every choice you make in life leads to a consequence, and that consequence can either be a blessing or a burden.”
Julie McGowan is director of communications at Oklahoma Baptist University.
CONTRIBUTING: Religion Editor Carla Hinton