November 6, 2014

Yielding my mind

The phrase “We are of the same mind” has a nice ring to it. Can I say that to God? Or can God say that to me?

Yesterday the challenge was this: God has given me the mind of Christ; have I given my mind to Him? If Jesus controls my mind, how would I think? Feel? Act? What would be different? In the morning, I offered it to Him without knowing what it means or would look like, but as I now review yesterday, I have a clearer picture.

Before recording the details, I read this short passage from 1 John today. It is John’s answer to an unspoken question; who has been born of God? How can I know who is a Christian, or even if I am a Christian?

John says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1–5)

The words believe, loves, know, obey, keep, and faith are concepts of the mind. They concern how I think about God, others, what I know and understand, and who I trust. These word obey and keep are action words, yet they too are grounded in my thoughts. So this passage is about the Christian mind.

But it is also about the evidence. Jesus said, “. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:34–35) While He was referring to speech, my actions also flow out of what is inside me, and those actions let others know who I am. They also show me the truth about myself.

John says, those born of God are those who believe that Jesus is the Christ. Those who love God also love those who are born of Him and who believe in Jesus. No one can claim to be a Christian and hate other Christians.

Those born of God also obey God, but this is more than a duty-obedience or a reluctant ‘keeping the rules’ obedience. It is an obedience that finds God’s commandments are not a burden, not heavy or a hardship. Think of a mother who gets up in the night and cares for a crying baby. This is a labor of love, not a burden.

Those born of God also overcome the world. What does that mean? John answers this earlier in this letter: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17)

This means that Christians not only lovingly obey God, but are not interested in selfish pursuits or in building our own little kingdoms, unless of course we get caught up in sin for a time.

Yesterday, after yielding my mind to Jesus, these marks of what it means to be born of God became more vivid that ever before. My thoughts were filled with praise. I had more creative ideas than I’ve had for a long time. Some of them dropped in unexpectedly and produced awe for God and songs of worship.

I know my mind is fickle and easily distracted. I also know that I have a spiritual enemy that wants to intrude and offer his thoughts. Yet the mind of Christ can push away the thoughts of the world, the flesh, and the devil. To be perfectly honest, yesterday was totally delightful!

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