“Have this mind among yourselves, which was 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, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2: 5 – 11).
One of the instructions given to us in the Bible is to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). In the Believer’s Bible Commentary, William MacDonald defines “having the mind of Christ” as “To see things as Christ would see them, and to respond as He would respond.” Have you ever wondered how this is possible?
Certainly, we know how important it is. God created the human mind as a combination of conscious and unconscious processes (thoughts) of the brain that direct our mental and physical behaviour. Our thoughts influence our actions. With the mind we exercise the power of reason, conceive ideas and pass judgment. It stores our intellect, as distinguished from emotion or will.
To have the mind of Christ, we must think as He thinks. This is difficult for us because, as the prophet Isaiah points out, our thoughts are not God’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). The foundation for them – our beliefs, ideas and paradigms – are based on perceptions of reality that were developed in our families of origin and life experiences. If the people and circumstances that influenced our mental processing were godly, we will find it easier to fix our thoughts on Jesus. If we were raised under dysfunctional, abusive conditions, we may struggle with evil, carnal thoughts. This is certain death to living a godly life, as the Bible states “to be carnally minded is death” (Romans 8:6).
Having the mind of Christ clarifies any distorted thought we may have. Otherwise we are subject to our own carnal minds. And the carnal mind -as the apostle Paul points out – can’t understand the spiritual things (Romans 8: 6-7).
The Bible tells us how it is possible to have the mind of Christ in spite of our life history. We are to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). One method we can use to renew our minds is to meditate on God’s Word. The psalmist says: “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119: 20, 24). Like the psalmist, we can find joy and knowledge in the Word when we choose to dwell on it.
One of the most important ways we can renew our minds is to reflect on the things that are listed in Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Included in the list are things that are “true.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary explains that we are to “make those true things the subjects of our thoughtful consideration” or “carefully reflect on them.”
God is a God of truth. In fact, the Bible says it is impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). He gives us His truth in every situation to apply to our thoughts. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). If you’re not free, which lie of the devil are you believing as truth in your life?
As stated earlier, we live our lives according to our perception of what is true—according to what we perceive is real. But if our perceptions are false, if we do not think on the truths of God, we will easily be led astray by Satan’s deceptions and counterfeits. Philippians 4:7 says that the peace of God guards our minds. I believe one reason God protects us in this way is that wrong thoughts are breeding grounds for Satan’s lies. He can mimic truth, but “there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).
In fact, we must constantly be on guard otherwise, “just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, our minds may somehow be led astray” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Learning to replace the lies of Satan with God’s truth is the key to having the mind of Christ and living a life that is pleasing to God.
There are many benefits that come from having the mind of Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
(1) We will come to “the full knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ” (Colossians 2: 2).
(2) Peace: Romans 8:6 tells us that “to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
(3) Increased intimacy with God: Isaiah 1:18 says that God wants us to come and reason with Him.
He wants us to know His will for our lives (Hebrews 13:21).
(4) Desire to live a life of obedience to Him: The psalmist asked God to give him understanding in keeping His laws and walking in His commandments so that he might “turn away…from looking at worthless things” (Psalm 119:33-37) etc.
Having any mind other than Christ’s causes us to live a life of disobedience and rebellion – “Rebellion …is a refusal to seek God’s mind in all things and we can never obtain the mind of God by relying on our own reasoning.”
Beloved, remember that the Lord searches the heart and examines the mind, to reward every man or woman according to his/her conduct, and according to what his/her deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17: 10).
May God prosper your ways as you align your thoughts with His.
Your brother, friend and pastor