Opened Minds (4)
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24.45
The Lord’s work
When Jesus opens a person’s mind to understand the truth of God, everything begins to change. All the old limitations by which we lived are set aside in the light of the unlimited possibilities for new life that spread out before us. This is true both for those who are just coming to faith in Jesus Christ, as well as those who are eager to press on to maturity in their thinking and lives (cf. Acts 19.1-10).
When Jesus opens a mind, our way of thinking about life – our worldview – starts to take on new dimensions. We feel released from the constraints of experience and narrow rationalism; we become hungry for the Word of God; and we sense a desire to grow and to pursue greater prospects for glorifying God.
As our mind becomes thus engaged, our heart burns within us, so that we are moved to greater love for God and our neighbors. We are excited about knowing the truth with greater scope and power than ever. And we want everyone we know and love to experience what we have come to know. A mind opened by the Lord Jesus inflames a well-kept heart with greater prospects for knowing, loving, and serving the Lord.
The path to a mature mind begins when Jesus opens our mind to see Him and the world in this way. This is a work that only the Lord Jesus Christ can do; mere reason will not open a person’s mind, nor will passionate persuasion. Jesus must open the mind, or people will continue to live deceived and unsatisfying lives.
But how does He do that? How does Jesus open the minds of those whom He is preparing to hear the Word of truth, whether for the first time or for a more complete vision of the Christian life?
The Word of God
Typically, the Lord employs three proven instruments for opening minds that are darkened in unbelief or deceived and languishing in a merely intellectual faith.
The first of these is the Word of God. We cannot revisit this truth often enough. The Scriptures are alive and powerful; the Gospel, which the Scriptures contain, is the power of God for salvation, and for bringing about true spiritual life (Heb. 4.12; Rom. 1.16; Jn. 6.63). Spiritual power attends the Word of God in Scripture, power that can break through years of complacency, deceit, or mere intellectualism, and shine the light of truth on the soul. The more of Scripture we bring to bear on our life – reading, meditating, and studying to see Jesus – the greater is the likelihood that Jesus will open our mind to greater glories of truth.
Further, the more we allow Scripture to speak to every area of life, concerning the good works appropriate to our lives, the more the light of God’s truth will penetrate and flare into the everyday nooks and crannies of life, all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities (2 Tim. 3.15-17). If we read and study God’s Word with a view to understanding all of life from the perspective of Scripture, not only will our own minds be more fully illuminated with the mind of Christ, but we will have more of the mind of Christ for illuminating the minds of others by various means and along various lines of thought.
The Spirit of God
Second, the Spirit of God works with that Word. He brings life and light to darkened or complacent minds (Jn. 6.63). As the Word is being read, studied, or explained, the Spirit penetrates to the depths of our soul, exposing sins and causing us to see areas of shallowness and self-deceit. Then He piques us with new possibilities in the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom, and begins to guide us into all truth, a little at a time, step by step leading us to consider the plain teaching of the Bible in new and more expansive ways (Is. 28.9, 10).
The Spirit of God is present as we seek His filling and rest in His power (Eph. 5.18; Acts 1.8). His alone is the power to open a mind, illuminate a heart, and bring new life to those we are seeking to persuade. And He alone can excite, move, and guide us into more of the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must seek His filling and depend on His teaching, both as we press on to maturity in the mind of Christ, and as we hope to be used by the Lord to open the minds of others as well.
Teachers and persuaders
Finally, as in the case of Jesus teaching His disciples, and His disciples teaching others (Matt. 28.18-20), God uses human teachers and persuaders to open the minds of those who have not understood the truth that is in Jesus or who have not engaged to greater depths the mind of Christ that is in them. The Spirit of God can give us the words we need to talk with others concerning the truth of the Gospel. But we must be willing and ready to talk, as opportunities arise (1 Pet. 3.15). And He can guide us more deeply into the truth of our Lord Jesus, but we must avail ourselves of teachers who can help us engage more of the mind of Christ.
It is every believer’s calling to work at becoming a good listener, an eager learner, a patient explainer, a careful student of the Word, and an unbending witness for the Truth. Jesus can fit us for such a life, and help us know more of His mind at work within us, but we must apply ourselves diligently to His Word, His Spirit, and faithful teachers.
We are called to learn Jesus (Eph. 4.17-24), to increase in the knowledge of Him (2 Pet. 3.18), and to press on beyond mere infancy of mind into levels of maturity that will find us teaching others with the mind of the Lord (Heb. 5.12-14). Jesus will open our minds as we do, and then He will use us as teachers to open the minds of others as well.
1. How confident are you that you could explain the Good News of Jesus to another person? What would you say, if the opportunity arose?
2. Is your present approach to reading and studying the Bible sufficient to bring increasing light from God’s truth to bear on every area of your life? What might you do to improve in this?
3. Suggest some ways you might use what you are learning from the Scriptures to engage another Christian in conversation? What about a non-Christian?
Next steps – Transformation: What’s one thing you could to do to improve your reading and study of Scripture, so that you begin growing into the mind of Christ more completely for every area of your life?
T. M. Moore
For more insight to the broad scope of how Christians can think with the mind of Christ, order a free copy of our book, Vantage Point, by clicking here. This brief study will help you understand time and how we as Christians can redeem and make the most of it by thinking with the mind of Christ.
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here. Check out our newest feature, Readings from the Celtic Revival (click here).
Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.