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What Does It Mean to Have the Mind of Christ?

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1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)
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.

Have you ever taken the time to think about the way that you perceive things? The way that we understand the things that happen to us and around us speaks directly to our character and our mindset. For instance, if you view adversity as something that is destructive and that there is no hope for you to ever get past it, that viewpoint speaks directly to your faith in God’s ability to work “everything for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). If you see a new job offer as a way to live out your faith in front of a new group of people, it means that your primary focus is on the Kingdom of God and pointing others to His love and grace. The way that we think speaks directly to who we are.

Paul discussed the importance of putting our minds under subjection to Christ’s leadership multiple times. For instance, in Romans 12:2, he said that we should “be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” A few chapters earlier, Paul (in Romans 8:6) pointed out that “setting the mind on the flesh is death, but setting the mind on the spirit is life and peace.”

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Having the mind of Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to be the controlling force behind our thought patterns is paramount for the children of God. Doing so will change the way that you view yourself, the way you view others, and the way that you view the problems that are a part of everyday life.

How You See Yourself
Romans 12:3 (TPT)

God has given me grace to speak a warning about pride. I would ask each of you to be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance. Instead, honestly assess your worth by using your God-given faith as the standard of measurement, and then you will see your true value with an appropriate self-esteem.

This is another example of Paul telling the Roman church about the importance of controlling their thoughts. One of the most important aspects of having a Christ-like mind is that we view ourselves in the proper context. When we get an inflated sense of self-worth, we not only fail to love others the way that Jesus commanded us to (Mark 12:31), but we also fail to acknowledge our need for God’s grace and forgiveness.

In the verses that followed Paul’s warning against pride and self-importance, he compared the body of Christ (the Church) to a natural human body. Paul spoke to the importance of how different organs work together to create one living, healthy body (Romans 12:4-5). Similarly, each member of the Church plays an important role in our fulfillment of God’s plan for all of humanity.

Viewing yourself as worthy while not viewing yourself as more important than others around you is important when you’re trying to apply the mind of Christ to your own self-perception. You were so loved, so valued and so desired by God that He gave the very best that He had to offer so you could have a relationship with Him (John 3:16). However, you are no more important than the person who lives down the street or the person who works in the office across the hall (Acts 10:34). When you are trying to figure out how you fit into God’s divine plan, remember that God wants you to be a part of His family, but He doesn’t need any of us. Instead, we receive the honor of being used by God.

How You See Others
Romans 12:9-10 (TPT)

Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.

Relationships with other people are hard. ¬¬¬¬The people that you interact with every day at work, at school, at the grocery store, on the highway and in every other area that you spend time all have their own thoughts and behavioral patterns. Do you know what’s so annoying about that? Their behaviors and thoughts don’t line up perfectly with yours! If only everyone around you thought and acted like you do, the world would be a better place, right?! Well, not exactly.

Because when we view ourselves through the lens of struggling humans who need a Savior (Romans 12:3), we understand that the people who we come in contact with every day are equally as flawed and just as desperate for God’s divine grace. So, if we have the mind of Christ, how do we view the people around us who have the propensity to drive us nuts?

We are commanded to be devoted to loving them tenderly, loving them like members of the same family. Whoa! That’s a pretty heavy charge, isn’t it? Loving your family might be easy, but how are you supposed to love the people who you’re competing with at work for the same promotion? You’re supposed to try to “outdo yourself” in respect and honor of one another.

Did you catch that? You’re not in competition with the people around you. You’re in competition with yourself! The only person you’re called to try to outdo is the person you were yesterday. When you view others through the mind of Christ, you see an opportunity to put His love on display to the people around you.

How You See Problems
Romans 12:12 (TPT)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.

Sometimes life is hard. In Job 14:1, Job said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Since all of us are born of woman, each of us are victims of Job’s assessment of life. It’s relatively short and full of trouble. Even if you live 100 years, how long is that in comparison to the existence of the world? God created the planet that we live on thousands of years ago. There’s a chance that it continues on for thousands of years after you’re gone. Our time here is short. And according to Scripture, that time is full of trouble.

However, Paul said that when we have the mind of Christ, we view those times of trouble to commune with God. A few chapters earlier in a popular verse, Paul made this declaration to the Roman church:

Romans 8:28 (TPT)
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.

Every detail of your life, the good, the bad and the ugly, are all woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan that produces good things in your life. How does that work, though? How does the loss of a job, the death of a friend or the end of a marriage produce something good in your life?

God’s supremacy over those seemingly destructive events makes it possible for those things to work to your benefit. God is able to take the most painful of moments and produce something absolutely beautiful from them. In Isaiah 61:3, the Old Testament prophet declared that God gives His people “beauty for ashes.”

When we allow the mind of Christ to dictate our perception of the bad things that happen in our lives, we view them as an opportunity for God’s glory to become more evident in us. Bad things are going to happen, Jesus promised us that (John 16:33). However, we do not have to be victims of our circumstances because He is able to make something beautiful out of the mess.

A Closing Prayer:
God, help me to chance my perception of myself, of the people around me and of the events that take place in my life. Remind me that I am simply a part of your divine plan. I’m not here because You need me, but because You want me. Remind me to continually show Your love to others around me. Finally, help me to view the problems of daily life through the lens of Your purpose for me. In Christ’s name, Amen

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