Greetings Narrow Gate,
We covered a great deal of ground last week in 1 Corinthians chapter 2. We began by looking at our fear concerning the election results.
Fear belongs to Satan, not Jesus. So, I want us to focus today on where we ended up last week, which is with the mind of Christ. If Jesus is the one who helps us not to fear, his mind will give us great insights into how this happens.
I have taken an outline from the website GotQuestions.org., and I will fill in this outline with my thoughts as led by God’s Holy Spirit and his word. Let’s begin with this:
You and I have the mind of Christ RIGHT NOW! Some of us may realize this, some may not. Some of us may be surprised with this statement. But, if you have a saving faith in Jesus Christ, you have the mind of Christ. John 1:12-13,
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
If we have been born again, we are a new creation. If we are a new creation, a child of God, that means that something else is new, our mind. Yet, new creations that we are, many of us go around using our minds like we did before we came to know Christ. We’re not using the mind of Christ at all. Some of us don’t even realize that we already have access to this mind of Christ.
After we are born again, the believer is under God’s influence, or at least should be. The Holy Spirit is very important in this process of spiritual development. We spoke at great length of the importance of God’s Spirit last week. The Holy Spirit conducts crucial work by infusing the wisdom from the mind of Christ into the believer. However, if the believer does not know or recognize or welcome the Spirit’s guidance, nothing will change in the mind of the believer. This might be because some of us have a difficult time yielding to God’s Spirit. Some of us have a difficult time yielding to anyone or anything. Ephesians 4:30, Phillips’ translation,
“Never hurt the Holy Spirit. He is, remember, the personal pledge of your eventual full redemption.”
The Spirit’s presence in the believer is proof of our salvation, proof of our saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Matthew 12:31-32 tells us, again, the Phillips’ translation,
“That is why I tell you that a person may be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy , but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. This person may say a word against the Son of Man (Jesus) and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this world or the world to come.”
So it is very important that we have a proper and healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit of God. Before we begin our look at what constitutes the mind of Christ, I would like for us to quickly review what would hinder us from having the or using the mind of Christ. From last week:
1. We cling to worldly possessions. Cling is an appropriate word here for our understanding. We all like stuff, modern stuff such as money, cars, cell phones, homes, computers, big screen TVs, boats, jet skis, and my personal favorite central air. We buy these items and use these things in our everyday lives. But do we cling to them? My daughter Gretchen used to have a Barney doll. From 15 months old till the age of 4-5, Barney was never far from her grasp. If he was, it was real drama till we found Barney and he was returned to her embrace. Is there something you cling to?
2. Similar to and sometimes the same, many of us cling to false idols. The only difference here is that these can be ideas, as well as, things. Thoughts and ideas that are not of godly origin, but from a source somewhere in our lives that prioritized this thought or idea, making it important to us. Is there a thought or idea that you cling to that you know goes against the teachings of Christ? For me, from the age of 15 until I accepted Christ at the ripe old age of 30, I thought that Christians were weak. I believed that Christianity was a crutch for the weak minded to lean on. It wasn’t until I accepted Christ as my savior and started reading the Bible on my own that I understood this to be not true. I had clung to this thought, used it to avoid discussing religion (it was my defense) so that I never had to give God a thought.
If we cling to either of these, worldly possessions or false idols, as believers in Christ, we will have difficulty accessing the mind of Christ that God has given to us. Remember, we all have the mind of Christ. As we cling to our worldly possessions and our false idols, we swing back and forth between Christ and our sinful nature. We are still double-minded.
* The term double-minded appears in the book James. We are looking today at accessing the mind of Christ, to learn wisdom from God by way of his Holy Spirit. Listen here to James, believed to be the brother of Jesus, in James 1:5-8,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without
finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not
doubt, because those who doubt are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the
wind. That person should not think that they will receive anything (wisdom) from the
Lord, they are double-minded, unstable in all they do.”
This is a dangerous place to be as a believer. Suspended between Christ and the world. Yet this is a journey that each of us must take and complete successfully. For if we don’t complete this journey successfully, our eternity is not in heaven but hell. Swinging back and forth between godly teachings of the Bible and worldly temptations renders us unstable beings. Which way will we go? Who can depend on people like this?
I was in this very place. This is when you have to trust God and give your dependence upon things and false idols to God. When you do this, the Holy Spirit has permission to begin the work to change you from the inside out. These worldly possessions and false idols are buried deep in our beings, in our hearts and our subconscious.
The term double-minded comes from the Greek word dipsuchos, meaning “a person with two minds or souls”. Bible scholars believe that the term may even have originated with James.
Whether that is the case or not, what is clear is that the double-minded believer is a believer with doubts that are still important to them (worldly possessions and false idols). This is much like the person Jesus spoke of who was trying to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Jesus taught that this person was “unstable”, which comes from the Greek word meaning “unsteady, wavering, in both character and feelings”. Who of us would want this on our job evaluation? Yet this is how many of our neighbors are acting in their lives today. Our TVs are full of images of people in various states of double-mindedness acting out in unhealthy ways.
The double-minded is continually restless and confused in their thoughts and actions. They are constantly in conflict with themselves. Guilt and doubt are their constant companions. The double-minded are susceptible to coping mechanisms, addictive behaviors that can include pornography, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as, other forms of abuse. The double-minded are not usually happy people.
The double-minded do not have this faith, from Hebrews 11:1,
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The same verse from the Phillips’ translation,
“Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for; it means being certain of things we cannot see.”
Having the mind of Christ is good for us. Who wants to be “unsteady and unhealthy”? Having the mind of Christ means that we share the plan, the purpose and the perspective of Christ, and as believers, we all possess this wisdom.
Having the mind of Christ means that we understand God’s plan in the world to bring glory to himself, restore creation to its original splendor, and provide salvation for sinful mankind. Having the mind of Christ means that we agree with:
* Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
* Philippians 2:5-8, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature
God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross.”
* Matthew 9:36, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
* Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Having this mind of Christ is very different from thinking the way the world thinks. This is where I am concerned for so many of our neighbors today. Even the Church has become enamored with the “thoughts of men”.
Allow me to finish today with some truths about the mind of Christ and related scripture references from 1 Corinthians chapter 2.
The mind of Christ stands in sharp contrast to the wisdom of man (1 Cor 2:5-6).
The mind of Christ involves wisdom from God, once hidden but now revealed (verse 7).
The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Spirit of God (verses 10-12).
The mind of Christ cannot be understood by those without the Spirit (verse 14).
The mind of Christ gives believers discernment in spiritual matters (verse 15.)
If you struggle with being double-minded, and you can admit it, you are almost there. Read and study the Word. The Word produces faith. The more you study, the more faith that you will have. The old self will fall away if you don’t cling to it. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and then follow it.
Remember, the believer bears the responsibility to yield to the Spirit’s leading. Ephesians 4:30,
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”. Like an old pastor friend of mine used to say “ the Spirit of God is a gentleman, he goes only where he is welcome. Make God’s Spirit feel welcome.” Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The reason that I tell you this during the election season is this: do not let your politics guide your theology, but instead allow your theology to guide your politics. If politics guides your life, you are of this world and not of God. Don’t paint yourself into a corner for eternity. If you do not understand your theology, you have work to do
Do no harm, do good and stay in love in with God.
and Harmony UMC