November 9, 2014

My thinking vs. God’s mind

When out for a walk the other day, I went by a house and could hear two people inside having a very loud argument. These verses reminded me: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.” (1 Corinthians 1:10–11)

As I think about the mind of Christ and try to describe it, I know one thing for certain: I would never hear the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit having a shouting match. This is not only unimaginable, but would never happen. The mind of God is not filled with conflict, nor does any one of the three persons in the Godhead have a beef with the others, or have a strong will that wants his own way. God is at one in Himself and at peace with Himself.

My mind doesn’t work that way. I could list pages of examples, but here are only a few of them that show how my mind is in marked contrast with how God’s mind works . . .

I can jump on a bandwagon for my favorite church or pastor, singer or music band, even what I think is the best city to live in, or the best store to shop at, any number of things, but God isn’t into that kind of partiality nor does He play favorites. The Bible says that His wisdom “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17) He doesn’t defend Himself, nor does He need to prove anything.

I can think I’ve got things figured out, or admire those who do, but God says, “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20) We humans only think we are wise, but compared to the mind of God, we know very little.

When it comes to thinking who would make a great Christian, I might pick strong, intelligent, well-liked people. However, this is not how God thinks. He says regarding our calling to Christ, “Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26–29) His mind is so different from mine.

I think good leaders will automatically have others serving them, but Jesus said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) My mind would say freedom is not having anyone bossing me around, but the Bible says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1)

When I sin, my mind first thinks to cover it up, not tell anyone, but God says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) My mind can harbor a grudge for a long time, but Jesus says to me, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

My mind also is very self-protective. I want to take care of me, and think that I must do that to come out on top. But again, Jesus is of another mind. He says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

This is why the God tells His people not to conform to the world and even to our old ways. Instead, we are to let Him renew our minds so that we are thinking His thoughts and not our own. God keeps teaching me that unwillingness to do that means a gigantic conflict inside my head— but willingness and a yielded mind brings peace and joy beyond comprehension inside my heart.

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