One of the instructions given to us in the Bible is to have the mind of Christ. We read in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (NKJV). Have you ever wondered how this is possible?
Certainly, we know how important it is. God created the human mind as a combination of conscious and unconscious processes (thoughts) of the brain that direct our mental and physical behavior. Our thoughts influence our actions. It follows, then, that if we want to act like Christ, we must also think like Him.
With the mind we exercise the power of reason, conceive ideas and use judgment. It stores our intellect, as distinguished from emotion or will.
There are many benefits to having the mind of Christ, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3). One is that we will come to "the full knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ" (v. 2). Here are some others:
Peace. Romans 8:6 tells us that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Increased intimacy with God. Isaiah 1:18 says that God wants us to come and reason with Him. He wants us to know His will for our lives (Heb. 13:21).
Desire to live a life of obedience to Him. The psalmist asked God to give him understanding in keeping His laws and walking in His commandments so that he might "turn away ... from looking at worthless things" (Ps. 119:33-37). Having any mind other than Christ's causes us to live a life of disobedience and rebellion.
David Wilkerson of Times Square Church in New York City wrote, "Rebellion ... is a refusal to seek His [God's] mind in all things. We can never obtain the mind of God by relying on our own reasoning."
To have the mind of Christ, we must think as He thinks. This is difficult for us because, as the prophet points out, our thoughts are not God's thoughts (Is. 55:8). The foundation for them—our beliefs, ideas and paradigms—are based on perceptions of reality that were developed in our families of origin and life experiences.
If the people and circumstances that influenced our mental processing were godly, we will find it easier to fix our thoughts on Jesus. If we were raised under dysfunctional, abusive conditions, we may struggle with evil, carnal thoughts. This is certain death to living a godly life, as the Bible states "to be carnally minded is death" (Rom. 8:6).
Having the mind of Christ clarifies any distorted thinking we may have. Otherwise we are subject to our own carnal minds. And the carnal mind—as the apostle Paul points out—can't understand the spiritual mind (vv. 6-7).
Renewing the Mind
The Bible tells us how it is possible to have the mind of Christ in spite of our life history. We are to "be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]" (Rom. 12:2).
One method we can use to renew our minds is to meditate on God's Word. The psalmist says: "My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors" (Ps. 119:20, 24, NIV). Like the psalmist, we can find joy and knowledge in the Word when we choose to dwell on it.
One of the most important ways we can renew our minds is to think on the things that are listed in Philippians 4:8: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Included in the list are things that are "true." Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary explains that we are to "make those (true) things the subjects of our thoughtful consideration" or "carefully reflect on them."
God is a God of truth. In fact, the Bible says it is impossible for Him to lie (Heb. 6:18). He gives us His truth in every situation to apply to our thoughts. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32, NKJV). If you're not free, which lie of the devil are you believing as truth in your life?
As stated earlier, we live our lives according to our perception of what is true—according to what we perceive is real. But if our perceptions are false, if we do not think on the truths of God, we will easily be led astray by Satan's deceptions and counterfeits.
Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God guards our minds. I believe one reason God protects us in this way is that wrong thoughts are a breeding ground for Satan's lies. Another name for Satan is deceiver: He can mimic truth, but "there is no truth in him" (John 8:44).
We are not immune to "the devil's schemes" (Eph. 6:11, NIV). In fact, we must constantly be on guard lest, "just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, [our] minds may somehow be led astray" (2 Cor. 11:3).
As a counselor, I listen to clients share the hurts and struggles that develop within them on their life journeys. The Holy Spirit reveals the lies of the enemy that they hear and receive as truth. My goal is to help them uncover the lies so that they can live in the freedom of God's truths.
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