November 22, 2014

God’s mind is for the yielded . . .

People often say something like, “God works in mysterious ways” as they try to figure out what is going on in their lives such as an unexpected windfall or other turn of events.

As I study the Bible, I’m also impressed by the mind of God. I’ve never been able to second-guess Him, not even once. He is full of surprises. He says that our thoughts cannot come close to His . . . “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6–9)

This is why I’m blown away by the fact that He also says His people have the mind of Christ. This is God talking, the Creator of the universe, wisdom personified, and He allows me to have His mind? I know what happens inside my head and many of my thoughts are certainly not His thoughts. If His mind gives input into my thinking, I am as amazed as anyone could be, even saying, “Where did that come from?” Yet I know and am in awe of Him.

Today’s devotional reading offers a small tidbit from the life of Christ that points to the wisdom of the ages at work in a very interesting situation. The religious leaders of His day wanted a good reason to nail Him. They came up with many and this one seemed a sure thing . . .

“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’”

“But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.’”

“And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’”

“They said, ‘Caesar’s.’”

“Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”

“When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.” (Matthew 22:15–22)

Jesus could have said, “Yes, we must pay taxes to the governing authorities” and been entirely biblical, but this would have enraged the Jewish people who hated their Roman oppressors. However, had He said no, He would have been in trouble with Roman authorities.

Jesus seemed trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but He wasn’t worried about the opinions of any of them. Because of that, He could think clearly and answer with astonishing wisdom and clarity. The men who tried to stump Him were stumped themselves and had to walk away.

The mind of Christ is uncluttered with “what will people think.” Because He listens to God and is only concerned with the truth, He can answer these devious people and anyone else with just the right words. This is all about the mindset of this man who is God.

D. L. Moody’s life was changed because someone said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man that is totally surrendered to Him.” This is a wonderful challenge, but it is not quite accurate. The world has seen what God can do with such a man. Jesus was totally surrendered and God gave Him an incredible life of blessing people, healing the sick and challenging those who were mocking God. Jesus obeyed without any hesitation and eventually God sent Him to a Cross where He was crucified Him, using this man to secure forgiveness and eternal life for sinners like me.

Moody and anyone else who wants to fully obey God may be called upon to do mighty things, yet none of us, no matter how strong our convictions and determination, can do what the God-man Jesus Christ accomplished in being totally surrendered to His heavenly Father. 

But God did give us the mind of His Son; thinking with it would be a good start.

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