November 8, 2014

The mind of Christ

A short story told of a man that refused to go to church on Christmas Eve because this baby in a manger didn’t make sense to him. He watched her drive away and was soon at the window again watching a storm come up. Then he noticed a few birds huddled in the barnyard, barely able to withstand the gusts of wind and shivering in the sudden cold air. He put on his coat and went out to shoo them into the open barn door where it was safe and warm.

The birds saw him coming and began fluttering in distress. He tried to chase them, but they scattered in fear, moving in the wrong direction and becoming tossed by the storm even more. The man felt great pity and tried harder, but the more he tried, the more the birds resisted. Finally he dropped to his knees and said, “If I could only become one of you and explain my intentions are for your good . . .” At that, he heard distant church bells and realized why Jesus came.

I’ve been reading and writing about the mind of a Christian, but it is flat. I don’t care about my mind. It is prone to sin, scatters like a flock of silly birds, and is often filling with nothing of substance. I want to use the rest of this little devotional booklet to remind me about the mind of Christ.

The Bible says that I really don’t have a clue about this topic, at least apart from God revealing it to me. This is clearly stated (at least clear to me) in this passage from 1 Corinthians . . .

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:7–16)

What does this say about my mind? Only that in its natural state, it is clueless concerning the things of God. The human mind needs regeneration, a spiritual renewal from God so it can accept what God says instead of considering it foolish. This is what happened to the man in the story. Using a flock of frightened birds, God opened his thinking, changed him. In one moment, he was changed from a man who would not or could not “get it” to a man that realized God had come to tell him what he had not been able to understand.

What does this say about the mind of Christ? It says that He, like that man, cares about the fearful, foolish, helpless and ignorant. He cares about those deluded by the storms of life and even those drawn away by the charms of life. He wants us safe in His care, safe in that big barn of His love and protection.

That safe place does not mean heaven on earth, but it does mean great assurance of eternal life, an assurance that gives those who believe in Him courage to face their fears, face the storms, even rise above them and glorify God in their struggles.

These verses say that I cannot think godly things on my own, but because He has given me His mind, I can understand that He loves me. I also know that when He is trying to move or shoo me from where I am, He has a far better place or plan in mind.

Some people think God carries a big stick and is ‘out to get’ them, but with His mind, I don’t have to be in the dark about how He thinks toward me. It is as He said to His people in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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