Opened Minds (7)
“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24.49
It’s amazing how an alien being can affect our lives when it takes up residence in our bodies.
A friend recently endured a bout with the flu. He was listless for weeks, had no appetite, could barely get any work done – all because a microscopic virus found its way into his body and made itself at home. We’ve all known that feeling, caused by something small but potent, which can have powerful effects on our energy and productivity.
Myself, I dread the coming of spring each year – well, dread may be a bit strong. Yet spring can be a difficult time for me and others who are allergic to pollen. When those tiny bits of plant-potential lodge in our nose and throat, it can make you long for fall and winter.
If we can be so dramatically affected by microbes, viruses, pollen, and other tiny alien things, what should we expect when the very power of God, His own Holy Spirit, takes up residence within us? When He begins to be at work within us, willing and doing according to God’s good pleasure, exceedingly abundantly above all we ever dared to ask or think (Phil. 2.13; Eph. 3.20)?
Jesus said the power of the Holy Spirit would make witnesses out of the disciples gathered in that upper room (Acts 1.8), because when Jesus opens the mind of a person, He sends His Spirit to convict, instruct, and equip us for ministry (Jn. 16.8-11). Those who understand this, and whose minds are growing in maturity in the Lord, readily welcome and gladly submit to the Spirit’s power for making all things new in their lives.
This is the greatest hallmark, the defining measure, of the one whose mind has been opened by the Lord. As we are maturing in the mind of the Lord, we may expect to realize more mature expressions of the Presence and power of the Lord as well, as His Spirit works within us according to the pleasure of God.
The work of the Spirit
How should we expect the power of the Holy Spirit to be expressed in our lives?
In general, He changes the way we see the world, and what we choose to look upon. He orients us to a new reality – the exaltation of Jesus Christ – and begins to shape everything we are and do in ways that bear witness to that reality. Using the Word of God, the Spirit brings us to the glory of God and works to transform us into the very image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18). As He continues this work, we learn to think with the mind of Christ. The glory of Christ radiates from us in even the most casual remark or mundane activity (cf. 1 Cor. 10.31), and we overflow with the life of Christ from the depths of our being (Jn. 7.37-39). All that we are, think, say, and do takes on a new reference and focus. Flowing from our opened minds, fired-up hearts, and renewed consciences, everything about us starts to look like Jesus and to radiate the hope of the Gospel (1 Pet. 3.15).
In four primary ways the Spirit begins to make us more like Jesus Christ. First, He creates in us a hunger for God’s Word and teaches us the Law of God, so that we may obey it (Jer. 15.16; Ezek. 36.26, 27). We can know that we’re on a course for maturity in the Lord when time in Scripture is becoming increasingly precious to us, and when we can say with the psalmist, “O, how I love Your Law!” (Ps. 119.97)
Second, He brings forth the fruit and tokens of love within us, for obedience to the Law of God always takes the form of love for Him and for our neighbors (1 Cor. 13.4-7; Matt. 22.34-40). All growth in the mind of Christ – the fruit of Christian instruction – is aimed at producing greater love for God and neighbors within us (1 Tim. 1.5). The Spirit strives to bring this love to fruition, and we can know that we are maturing in the mind of Christ when such love is more consistently evident in us.
Third, the Spirit begins to fill us with righteousness, peace, and joy – the hallmarks of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18) – and channels those into spiritual gifts for ministering to others (1 Cor. 12.7-11). This is what it means to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6.33), in our lives and throughout our Personal Mission Fields. Those who think and live out of the mind of Christ know that praying for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven is just the starting-point for realizing more of that Kingdom’s presence, promise, and power. Living toward that sought-for objective is our daily calling (1 Thess. 2.12).
Finally, the Spirit opens our mouths to proclaim the Good News of Jesus so that others can come to know Him as we do (Acts 1.8). This is the primary reason the Spirit has been given to us. When we are thinking with the mind of Christ and growing in the mind of the Spirit, bearing witness to Jesus through His Spirit will come more readily and effectively to us. We will not be afraid to start a conversation with a view to getting to the Gospel, for we know that the Spirit will give us the words we need, and the Word that goes forth from us will accomplish whatever God intends (Lk. 12.12; Is. 55.10, 11).
Willing and able!
Paul says that the power of God’s Spirit is at work within us to make us willing and able to do the will of God (Phil. 2.12, 13).
He further says that this power can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think (Eph. 3.20).
If nothing of spiritual significance is happening in our lives, either we are squelching or quenching the Spirit of God, through unbelief or sin, or we have not yet had our minds opened to receive Him and the life mission He brings to all who truly believe in Jesus.
Pray for the filling of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 5.18-21), that Jesus may open your mind wider each day, that you may know more of His Presence, promises, and power at work in your mind, and in all your life.
1. In what ways have you seen the Spirit of God at work in your life lately?
2. Meditate on Ephesians 3.20 and Philippians 2.13. How should these verses encourage you each day, as you go out into your Personal Mission Field?
3. Write a prayer that you can use each day to seek the Lord for greater openness to His mind, and to maturing in the mind of Christ.
Next steps – Demonstration: Give God thanks and praise for the Holy Spirit Who dwells within you. Pray that He will open your mind to the riches of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that today you will demonstrate more of His Presence, promise, and power in everything you do.
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.
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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.