November 15, 2014

Christ transforms minds

Yesterday marked the beginning of an assignment based on Romans 12. So where does my devotional booklet take me today — Romans 12. Some would say “coincidence” but I know God better than that. He is giving me more fodder for my assignment.

My devotional topic is the mind of a Christian, but I’ve tried to focus more on the mind of Christ. The Bible says that those who believe in Jesus and have received Him into their lives also have His mind. Yes, I know that seems too good to be true. Sometimes the way we Christians behave, people wonder if we are out of our minds, never mind housing the mind of the Son of God! However, God’s Word says it is so. Our problem is learning to put away our old habits and human reasoning and instead think using the gift of His mind.

Paul had a few things to say about this challenging ‘change of mind.’ One of them is in Romans 12: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:1–3)

How does this work? Well, salvation can be compared to winning the lottery. Aside from buying the ticket, those who wind up with the right numbers do nothing to earn or deserve their windfall. It is an incredible happenstance, a gift from those who sponsor the event. In similar fashion, salvation is not earned or deserved; it is a gift. Yet like any gift, it has no benefit unless the person takes the gift and uses it.

And the same could be said of the mind of Christ. This gift is also part of what it means to be redeemed, regenerated, born again, given forgiveness and salvation. However, if that part of the gift is left unwrapped, it does nothing for the recipient. The mind of Christ is mine, but if I never use it, it might as well not be.

Actually, not using it at all is impossible. His mind, like His presence, is impossible to ignore. He whispers. He chuckles. He commands. Sometime He yells. Those who know Him, hear Him because He also said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

However, this is a cooperative thing. In Romans, Paul says two important things: first I must yield my body to Him, and of course that includes my mind. Second, I’m to be a nonconformist, swimming upstream from the rest of the world, and allowing Him to transform my mind. He does it as I read what He says and how He thinks from the Bible, and by that voice within – the one I hear, and know, and follow. By cooperating with Him, my wayward mind is changed, shaped, and transformed.

How does Jesus think? Romans 12:3 says that I am not to think of myself more highly than I ought. Could that possibly mean that Jesus does not have a high opinion of Himself? Of all the people who ever walked this earth, He is the only one that has a right to that opinion, but this was not the choice He made. Philippians 2 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5–8)

Humanly, I cannot wrap my head around all of this. Yet, God’s Word makes it plain that this is how the mind of Christ thinks — with incredible humility. It isn’t that Jesus had no sense of self-worth. John wrote that Jesus knew His Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, so He wrapped a towel around Himself and washed the disciples’ feet. (John 13:3-5) From that, I see that in knowing who He is, Jesus is able to serve others.

I’m blessed by the Word of God and the example of Jesus Christ. His thoughts are not my thoughts, yet I get it. I understand that by yielding myself to Him, including my mind, He will give me a greater sense of self, one that I do not have to pridefully defend or fight to prove. Better yet, by having those thoughts from His mind in my mind, I am be set free to serve others.

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