Develop The Mind Of Christ
Having been encouraged by Paul to have the "mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5) you are enabled to develop it through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
1. Be constantly aware that Christ is with you, indwelling you by His Spirit. This brings all of life on a higher plane. This is not something you strive to achieve; this is spiritual fact. You are committed to Christ, He is now your Lord, and He has sovereign authority over you. He has committed Himself to you; you are covenanted together. You live for Him, with Him, and by His enabling. With Paul you can say, "For to me, to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). This now makes available to you the mind of Christ.
2. Constantly depend on the Holy Spirit. He cleanses, empowers, and fills you so that you now live "according to the Spirit" and not according to your sinful nature, as unsaved people do (Rom. 8:4-5). Your mind is now controlled by the Spirit (vv. 6-9).
As you live now on the spiritual plane, depend constantly on the Spirit, your ever-present Counselor, to alert you; to remind you; to suggest ideas, words, and actions; to motivate and encourage you; or to check and restrain you. Watch for His guidance in all your decisions. In life’s thronging details, again and again and almost unconsciously glance to catch His smile or frown, His approval or His questioning of what you are doing or considering. As the ship’s pilot keeps glancing at his compass and the stars to check his course, as the plane’s pilot keeps looking at the dials of his instrument board, so keep lifting your spiritual eye to the Spirit and sense His continued approval, concern or disapproval.
3. Constantly desire to please God. To have the mind of Christ is to share the attitude of Christ, Who said, "The One Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him" (John 8:29).
"My food...is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to finish His work" (John 4:34).
"I seek not to please Myself but Him Who sent Me" (John 5:30).
Let this same motivation control you as you share the mind of Christ. More important to you than success, the praise of others, or your own wishes – more important than all else – must be your desire to please God, to sense His smile of approval and His loving pleasure in you.
Constant Spirit of Prayer
4. Constantly breathe the spirit of prayer and give priority to prayer. Prayer was the very life-breath of Christ when He was on earth. He took whatever steps were necessary to find time and a place for prayer. He arose early in the morning to pray, prayed in the evening, and on occasion prayed all night. He went outside the village to be alone with God. He sent His disciples away so He could be alone in prayer. He climbed the mountain to find a secluded place to pray. But also, again and again wherever He was, He lifted His eyes and prayed. Prayer was as natural and as necessary to Christ as breathing.
Christ chose to live and minister during His incarnation, using the same methods and spiritual resources available to you and me. Normally as He ministered He derived His power by prayer, not by relying on His divine omnipotence. He prayed before He multiplied the loaves and fishes and before He raised Lazarus from the dead. He told Peter that Satan would try to sift him, but He would pray for him.
Today He reigns sovereignly by intercession; His throne is an intercessory throne. He "lives to intercede" (Heb. 7:25). He is "at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" (Rom. 8:34).
To have the mind of Christ is to put priority on prayer, to cover and saturate all you do by prayer, and to pray without ceasing. To have the mind of Christ is to share His intercessory burden for the church and the world.
How do you fulfill your role of identifying with Christ by serving as "priests to serve our God"? (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). A vital part is receiving in prayer the constant flow of guidance as the Spirit brings prayer needs to your heart.
Prayer is listening as well as speaking. It is through the listening ear during prayer that you identify with Christ in the prayer burdens for which He is interceding on His throne. Thus you are enabled constantly to do His will. Only through the mind of Christ can you properly represent Christ and mediate His blessing constantly to others.
5. Constantly adopt and manifest the humility of Christ. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who...made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant...He humbled Himself and became obedient" (Phil. 2:5-8).
Let this humble servant attitude guide you, motivate you, and clothe you in all you say and do. Include it in the background of every decision you make. Constantly consider others better than yourself (Phil. 2:3). Let this attitude cover you like a beautiful garment in all you do and add graciousness to all you say (Col. 3:12).
The mind of Christ is not a passive mind – it is constantly seeking to obey God, live for God, and complete the tasks that God assigns. Your carnal self-nature must not protrude in all of this. Let the Christlike attitude of humility prevail. Be actively like Christ. Be totally committed to and dependent on God, and do all as to the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Pet. 4:1). Do all in the name of Christ (Col. 3:17).
6. Constantly recognize and be motivated by the supreme worth of the spiritual. Recognize that the spirit is more important than the body, and spiritual welfare than material welfare. "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Jesus assures us that when we put spiritual interests first (His kingdom and His righteousness), all our material needs will be taken care of (Matt. 6:33). Christ makes no sharp dichotomy between the spiritual and the physical, but He always gives first place to the spiritual.
When you have the mind of Christ you will be looking for the spiritual potential or implications in everything you do. As you live your normal life in your very real world you will both consciously and unconsciously give priority to what is important spiritually. You remember, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). Why gain material, economic, or other success at the cost of the smiling approval of God?
Eternity’s Values in View
7. Constantly keep in view the perspective of eternity. When you have the mind of Christ you are a person living in two worlds. You are a citizen of heaven as well as earth. You recognize how foolish it is to put most of your investments of time, effort, love and finance in what may be lost at any time and will never last for more than a century. Rather, invest in what will result in eternal blessing, rewards, and joy. As you make your countless decisions, remember that everything here is temporary, perishable, and capable of being quickly lost. But everything that is done for God, in the name of Jesus, and out of a desire to please the Lord, is an eternal investment. It is as sure to be rewarded as God is in heaven.
Paul said that all you do, your whole life, will be tested. Whatever is of the imperishable nature of gold, silver, and costly stones will survive the test of God’s judging fire. But whatever is of the perishable nature of wood, hay and straw will be burned up, and those parts of your life will be an eternal loss to you (1 Cor. 3:11-15). Since you have the mind of Christ, keep evaluating how you spend your time. Is it straw or gold?
The mind of Christ in you will help you to realize how much of your time spent in reading, in watching non-uplifting television, and in comparatively meaningless conversation will prove on the judgment day to have been as wood, hay and straw. Realize that in many ways you can do your ordinary, daily work as unto the Lord. Use your spare moments in prayer, reading the Word, or in helping and blessing others.
This, in the phrase of Dr. Stanley Tarn, is transmuting your time and efforts into the gold of eternity. The mind of Christ can guide you in many of the seemingly trivial decisions of your daily life.
Paul says, "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things," and then adds, "We have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:15-16). The Greek word for "makes judgments" is anakrino and expresses the questioning process that is basic to making a judgment. It involves inquiry and investigating in order to make decisions.
In other words, the spiritual person does not just follow unquestioningly the standards or examples of others. He carefully inquires, observes, weighs evidence, and makes his decisions the way Christ would, for he has the mind of Christ.
Since you have Christ’s attitude, set your heart on "things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1). Set your mind "on things above, not on earthly things" (v. 2). Avoid putting excessive emphasis on what will make you wealthy or popular or what will give you a "good time." You do not despise money, for you know how necessary it is in life and how much good can be done with it. You know you can invest it for God. But money is not your priority.
You value the goodwill and good opinion of others. But you put all these in their proper place: subject to the will and glory of God. You enjoy relaxing alone or with family and friends. But you choose forms of relaxation that are physically, mentally, and spiritually beneficial. You try to avoid activities that largely waste time. Having the mind of Christ, try to find larger portions of your spare time and even your retirement time that you can use to make eternal investments.
Maintain Peace with Christ
8. Constantly live and act in ways that keep your mind at peace in Christ. Paul urges, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15). The Greek word brabeueto, translated "rule," means literally to be an umpire, to arbitrate, to rule or to decide. Paul speaks in Colossians 3 of the areas where Christ’s peace should be the umpire, the deciding authority – among the members of the body of Christ and in your own heart.
Paul urges you to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (v. 12). You are to bear with others and forgive whatever grievance you have against them (v. 13). You are to bind all these aspects of spiritual clothing around you with love (v. 14). That will prepare the way for Christ’s peace to rule in your relations with others.
Then you are to be thankful (v. 15), feasting on God’s Word and sharing its lessons with others as you gratefully sing and praise God (v. 16). Whatever you do or say, you are to do it thankfully in the name of Jesus (v. 17). It is in the middle of all these instructions that Paul urges you to let Christ’s peace be your umpire. You will be very watchful of what deepens that peace or what begins to rob you of it. That blessed peace will guide you sweetly but firmly in what to do or not to do, what to say or not to say.
Peace! If any word or act will deepen your own heart peace and your peace with others, what more guidance do you need? If something robs you of peace, by all means avoid it. Guidance can be as simple as that. The mind of Christ will teach you to be a peace-maker, a peace-deepener, and a peace-maintainer. It will affirm to you, "This is the will of God, but that isn’t." Then Isaiah 26:3 will be fulfilled in your life: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." What can be more essential and practical when you have the Word of God and the indwelling Counselor, the Holy Spirit? What can be more important to cherish and to heed than the mind of Christ? The Bible, the voice of the Spirit, and the mind of Christ – these are the primary resources for your guidance. Use them.
From Let God Guide You Daily, by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 1988. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751 Ext. 361.