Judge Not? (6)
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2.16
For the weapons of our warfare arenot carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10.4, 5
Unto Christ, by Christ
Christians are called to judge the world. This does not mean that we are “judgmental” about everything, so that we can’t open our mouths without finding something to complain about, or someone to condemn. It simply means that we make decisions, choices, and judgments, and we speak and act, with a view to seeing more of Jesus in ourselves and others. Jesus is the essence of sound judgment, for in Jesus, the holiness God seeks is fulfilled in its most human expression.
All our judging and judgments, therefore, must be unto Christ, that His beauty, truth, goodness, grace, kindness, and transforming power may be more evident in our world. We long to see the goodness of the Lord Jesus in the land of the living (Ps. 27.13), and our work of judging the world must never stray from that focus. The more we build ourselves and others up in Jesus Christ, the more the rest of our lives – all our work and other activities – will reflect the reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
When we judge this way, Christ fills our world with Himself (Eph. 4.8-10), and the fragrance of Christ becomes evident in the spaces and places of our lives (2 Cor. 2.15, 16). And while this does not mean that everyone will welcome that fragrance, those who do will realize more of the presence, promise, and power of Christ’s righteous and loving rule, making all things new in their lives.
But for us to judge the world this way, to judge it unto Christ, we must make sure that we are judging the world by Christ, that is, with the mind of Christ, which is our unique possession as His followers.
The mind of Christ
The mind is that aspect of the soul which processes information. While not entirely separate from the heart – which is the seat of affections – or the conscience – the locus of our settled values and priorities – the mind acts on information by analyzing, thinking, comparing, combining, planning, and preparing decisions. The mind is thus crucial in the work of judging and judgment. And if we want to judge others unto Jesus Christ, then we must have Jesus Christ on the mind.
Happily, for those who believe in Jesus, this is precisely the case, as Paul explained. We have the mind of Christ. However Jesus analyzed situations, whatever processes He engaged in thinking and sorting through information, and whatever means He employed to arrive at His always just and righteous judgments, we have that same capacity.
At least, that is, in principle. We have the mind of Christ, but the mind of Christ is not fully operational in any of us. Just because we are Christians and truly love Jesus, doesn’t mean that we always in every situation think like Jesus did or judge as Jesus would. We have the mind of Christ, but having the mind of Christ and using the mind of Christ are two different things.
It’s for this reason that the apostles exhort us to grow in Christ, so that we might leave behind our old ways of thinking and follow Jesus in all His ways. If we are to judge the world unto Christ-likeness, then we must judge it from increasing Christ-likeness, in all our thoughts, affections, priorities, and ways. This is a constant struggle, and every believer must engage it faithfully and persistently.
Every thought captive
Our goal should be to make sure that every one of our thoughts is captive to the mind of Jesus Christ, that we, in effect, think Jesus’ thoughts after Him about whatever we’re thinking or judging. The mindset we need for judging the world is the mindset of our Lord Jesus Christ. And while that mindset is ours, we must work hard to understand its scope and proper use, and to be ready and able to think and judge with the mind of Christ.
This means spending much time reading, studying, and meditating in the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ps. 119.97-104). The words Jesus speaks to us in the Bible – all the Bible – are the words of life. Jesus Himself islife, as He explained to His disciples (Jn. 14.6). So in the Bible, as we see Jesus and learn about Him (Jn. 5.39), His life flows into us, and we are transformed into His image, soul and body (2 Cor. 3.12-18).
The Bible illuminates every aspect of human life and interest. It speaks the life of Jesus for all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, for every person, place, and thing in our Personal Mission Field. As we read and study the Bible, we must pay careful attention to whatever it requires of us. These are the words of life. They give us the mindset of Jesus for thinking about our work, how to make good decisions, where to stand on issues of the day, how to treat the people around us, what use to make of culture, and how, in general, to make the most of every opportunity for proclaiming Jesus by word and deed.
We cannot take every thought captive to make it obedient to Jesus Christ unless we are working hard to gain a deeper, broader, more far-ranging and all-encompassing understanding of the Bible. We have to work at this every day, reading the whole counsel of God over and over (Acts 20.27), sifting the Scriptures to guide us in doing every good work (2 Tim. 3.15-17), daily searching and comparing the Scriptures (Acts 17.11; 1 Cor. 2.12, 13), and replacing our worldly and finite ways of thinking about everything with the heavenly and eternal wisdom of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4.17-24).
You will not be fit to fulfill your calling to judge your world until becoming increasingly agile and consistent in taking every thought captive for Christ is your daily commitment and practice.
1. Are your Bible reading and study practices sufficient to help you become more agile and consistent in using the mind of Christ? Explain.
2. We keep coming back to the need for being more faithful and diligent in the Scriptures if we are going to fulfill our calling to judge the world. Why is this so?
3. How can believers help one another to grow in the mind of Christ? Can we learn about the mind of Christ from Christians of other generations?
Next steps – Transformation: As you read and study the Scriptures, begin making notes whenever a passage or text speaks directly to something in your Personal Mission Field. Jot that passage down, and meditate on it until it yields some action you can take with the mind of Christ.
T. M. Moore
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This week’s study is part 2 of a 4-part series, To Judge the World. Each part consists of seven lessons and is available as a free PDF download at the end of the study. In the tag for part 7, we’ll give you a link to download part 2, Judge Not?
An excellent companion to this series is our book, The Ground for Christian Ethics. Here you’ll discover the basis on which Christians learn to judge with righteous judgment. You can order a copy by clicking here.And when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
Mindset for Judging
- T.M. Moore
- November 7, 2018
We have the mind of Christ, but we must learn to use it.
Judge Not? (6)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.