The Mind of Christ (2)
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ… Ephesians 4.17-20
Embedded in old ways
There’s the old joke about how you can tell if a computer belongs to an Irishman (as one of Irish descent, I can tell this).
All the Wite-Out™ on the screen.
During my early years of using a computer I was that Irishman. Oh, I didn’t daub Wite-Out™ on my screen, but I kept using the computer in many ways like a typewriter. If I wanted to revise or add to a manuscript I was working on, I’d simply type the dumb thing over again, because I didn’t know about insert or copy-and-paste for some time. Nor did I understand about saving manuscripts, and so, as you can imagine, there was a good deal of re-keying, not to mention losing of documents.
I had this powerful new machine but I was treating it like the old machines I’d used for years; as a result, I wasn’t getting the benefit I expected. In fact, I recall at one point wondering aloud what all the fuss was about computers. I just didn’t see the advantage, except for the colorful green block letters on the screen. It seemed to be more trouble than it was worth – but this was just a measure of my being embedded in old ways and ignorant of the new capabilities I possessed.
I didn’t realize that working on a computer wasn’t merely an update on my old way of composing, but an entirely new and more exciting and productive way of writing.
Believers in Jesus Christ have the mind of the Lord. And whereas, in our old minds, which we had before believing in Him, we may have lived in the darkness of unbelief, without understanding the revelation and will of God, and without believing what God could do in and through our lives, now we have no excuse for continuing in ignorance of the many new and exciting truths God wants to teach them.
Old things have passed away, Paul explained; all things have become new (2 Cor. 5.17).
The mind we have now in Jesus Christ is completely new. It is the mind of Christ, which is free from the selfish and wicked ways of sin; open to the deep truths of God’s Word; capable of gaining insight into the glory of God in the world around us; and able to think God’s thoughts after Him in ways that allow us to live totally new lives from what we’ve ever known before. The mind of Jesus Christ is creative, energetic, broadly-informed, interested, curious, and alert to every opportunity to further the Kingdom and glory of God (Eph. 5.15-17).
As Christians, possessing the mind of Christ, we have access to new resources to guide our thinking, shape our outlook, and direct our lives. The world is a whole new place when we look at it with the mind of Christ. Rather than being distant and fearful, something from which we are alienated through ignorance, the world becomes the cosmos for which Christ died, a place of infinite wonder and glorious displays of the majesty and mystery of God, a world that God is renewing in Jesus Christ through the everyday lives and works of people like you and me.
Think like Jesus
The same is true with the people in our lives; now, with the mind of Christ, we see them as men and women made in the image of God, loved by the Savior, and capable of knowing Him and living in His truth. As we use our new minds to engage the world and the people around us, we begin to think like Jesus, and to desire, as Jesus does, to see all of life and all the people we love reconciled to God, and the world turned rightside-up in Him.
We are not thinking with the mind of Christ if we don’t see the world as He does. If we are fearful of new situations, doubting whether God can use us, uninterested in the world or the people to whom God sends us, limited by our experience, or lacking confidence in the Word of God, we are thinking with our old minds, and not with the new mind that is ours in Christ Jesus. We can’t just blot out our old minds with some kind of spiritual Wite-Out™. We need the powerful, daily working of the Holy Spirit, as He opens the Word of God to us and shows us the world and our lives from the heavenly vantage point, where we have been seated with Jesus Christ (Eph. 2.6).
The old mind sees only familiar roads. It expects potholes and detours, traffic jams and road rage. The old mind lives in the past, and is unable to imagine anything other than what it’s always known or done. The old mind wants things to remain the same; it can’t be troubled to learn, and it prefers to go along with the spirit of the age, and not to rock any boats. The old mind cannot see the glory of God, nor the possibilities for revival, renewal, and awakening, because it’s too busy calculating and pursuing what makes for a safe, comfortable, and convenient way of life. The old mind affirms beliefs, but it hesitates to act on them, lest it seem to be out of step with the times.
We are called to put off such old mind thinking, and to be clothed with the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions – none – for the old mind and its fleshly ways (Rom. 13.14). The world looks very different from the vantage point of Christ’s throne at the Father’s right hand. Old mind thinking just doesn’t belong there. We have the mind of Christ!
Looking at the world with the mind of Christ opens all kinds of possibilities for how God might use us in loving Him and our neighbors. The possibilities are endless, but the challenge of learning to think with the mind of Christ is a huge one, to be sure. If we are keeping our heart with all diligence, we will desire the mind of Christ and all the ways Jesus wants us to see the world.
1. How can we tell when we’re looking at our lives with the “old mind” rather than with the mind of Christ?
2. What would you prescribe as some reasonable steps to take in “putting on” the new mind we have in Jesus Christ?
3. What are the greatest obstacles to your beginning to live more consistently out of the mind of Christ? How can your fellow-believers help you overcome those obstacles?
Next step – Preparation: Spend some time in prayer reviewing your Personal Mission Field – the places you go and the people God sends you to each week. Ask the Lord to show you any place where you are still thinking with your old mind about your relationships, roles, and responsibilities. Begin asking Him daily to renew you in the mind of Christ.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.