Saturday, January 10, 2009

What Does It Mean to Have the Mind of Christ?

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him"- 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that He may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-16

1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us “we have the mind of Christ.” What does this mean? Let’s begin with what it does not mean? Having the mind of Christ certainly does not mean we always think pure thoughts. Therefore, the mind of Christ cannot refer to our natural brain or that which controls the thinking in our head. But isn’t this the only “mind” we have? Maybe not.

The context tells us exactly what it means to have the mind of Christ. First, notice how much the Holy Spirit and the human spirit are mentioned: “His Spirit” (v. 10); “The Spirit” (v. 10); “man’s spirit” (v. 11); “Spirit of God” (v. 11); “Spirit who is from God” (v. 12); “the Spirit” (v. 13); “the Spirit” (v. 14); “the Spirit of God” (v. 14); “spiritual man” (v. 15). Second, notice how many times Paul mentions spiritual discernment or the ability to know something that is of God: “revealed to us by His Spirit” (v. 10); “understand what God has freely given us” (v. 12); “spiritually discerned” (v. 14); “known the mind of the Lord” (v. 16).

Now, let’s put the two together. To have the mind is the supernatural ability, from the Holy Spirit, to know in our spirit the things of God.

In other words, when we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit into our spirit. We are indwelt with the Holy Spirit at this moment and forever. An added bonus to receiving the Holy Spirit into our spirit involves our spirit receiving a “mind” of sorts. This spiritual mind allows us to know in our spirit the things of God. These things from God can include our identity in Christ, insights into Scripture, knowledge of God, discernment, direction, the love of God, or anything that is of God.

The verse that best summarizes what it means to have the mind of Christ is v. 12: “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” What a blessing to have the mind of Christ. All Christians have this spiritual ability to know and discern what is from God. Like most gifts, we have to exercise it in order for it to be strong.

So, how can we make sure we exercise the mind of Christ? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Whenever you read or study the Bible, don’t simply rely on your natural brain, but instead ask God to supernaturally help you to discern truths with your spiritual mind.
  2. Concentrate your attention on two main areas: the character of God and your identity in Christ.
  3. Whenever you don’t know what to do, ask the Holy Spirit to give you direction.
  4. Take time in prayer to listen to God. Ask God to reveal to your spiritual mind whatever He wants to tell you. Be silent, wait on the Lord, and receive whatever He gives to you.
  5. Give attention to those “impressions” you get from time to time. More often than not, these impressions are God speaking to you in this “mind of Christ” that you have.

What a great adventure to follow the Lord. Having the mind of Christ is another wonderful way to enjoy walking with God.

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