” …we have the mind of Christ.”
I Corinthians 2:16
What does this even mean?
How can we have the mind of Christ?
Apparently we do, or Paul wouldn’t have affirmed this to the church in Corinth. If it was true for them, then it must also be true for us. And I’ll talk about what that includes in just a minute.
But before you get all puffed up thinking you’re as smart as Jesus, let’s look at this in the context of what Paul is getting at.
Just before Paul makes this bold assertion that we have the mind of Christ, he’s talking about judging. The material minded folks can’t discern or judge spiritual things. But the spiritually minded are able to discern and judge between right and wrong. Paul is actually quoting from Isaiah 40:13 when he writes, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” Then he adds, “But we have the mind of Christ.”
But if we have the mind of Christ, wouldn’t we be able to know the mind of God? Yes, but not with the intent or ability to tell Him what to do.
Did Jesus ever tell God what to do? No, he did what God told him. Then, for us to have the mind of Christ, we don’t tell God what to do, we do what He tells us.
Jesus said things like, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30 KJV
Are we really following his example on this?
The mindset of Jesus
One of the key factors of having the mindset of Jesus is realizing you can’t do anything without God’s help. Another is not doing what you want but seeking God’s will in all things.
That’s easier said than done.
We love to quote that famous prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will but Thine be done.” But it’s darn tootin’ hard to let go of our will. Even Jesus struggled to do so. Fortunately, he won the victory and so can we.
Realizing you can’t do anything without God’s help and seeking God’s will instead of your own are the first two steps to having the mindset of Jesus. But you can’t just push a button and expect to think more like Jesus. It takes a daily discipline of faith and love to get there.
But wait, there’s more: it’s about the relationship
So how did Jesus think? How did he see things? From what perspective did he look at the world?
If we really want to follow him, we have to see, think, pray, and act with his mindset.
Why did Jesus say he couldn’t do anything without God’s help? And why did he resign his will to God’s? Because he knew who God was. He knew who he was. And he knew his relationship with God as his Father.
Jesus did not just believe in his Father, he knew Him. It was a conscious Father/Son relationship. He knew he could never be separated from the Father nor the Father from him. He declared, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
If you want to have the mindset of Jesus, you must know God, not just believe in Him. Jesus has shown us this is possible. In fact, Jesus wanted you to have the same oneness with God, the same awareness of your relationship with your heavenly Father, that he did. In referring to everyone down through the ages who would accept him as the Son of God, he prayed, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” (John 17:21 KJV)
Jesus has prayed for you and me to understand our oneness, our unity, our relationship, with the Father and himself, the Son. Jesus’ prayers for you are not in vain and have not gone unanswered. If you ever feel far away from God, just remember Jesus’ prayer for you to feel your closeness to God.
When you pray, keep this in mind. You are praying to the same God Jesus did. You have the same Father that Jesus does. When you nurture this relationship in your heart, you will increasingly have the mindset of Jesus.
Jesus knew God would always hear his prayers
Think about the consequences of being absolutely certain of your unbreakable relationship with God. You are conscious of how much He loves you and how much you love Him. Jesus gives an insight into this as he stands in front of Lazarus’ open tomb, about to call him forth. He prays, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me.” (John 11:41,42 ESV)
When you know your relationship with God, you know He always hears and answers your prayer. And when you are seeking God’s will instead of your own, you won’t be praying for things you shouldn’t. It should be no surprise that God will answer that kind of prayer more readily.
This kind of relationship is all about trust and love. Jesus did not have blind faith that God would answer his prayer. He knew it from a deep trust and confidence in God. You and I can have that same awareness because we do “have the mind of Christ.”
The lens Jesus looked through
When you look at the world, what do you see? What you see depends on what lens you look through. If you look through green or gray tinted sunglasses, the world will takes on those hues. If you look at someone through a wall of glass bricks, everything is distorted to your eyes. If you look through the lens of anger, it will warp everything you see.
Jesus had a different way of looking at things, a different lens to look through.
It was a radical concept that propelled everything he said and did. From the very moment he began his public ministry, he proclaimed, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) This is the way he saw the world. His awareness that the kingdom of heaven is at hand is the spiritual lens he looked through as he talked to people, ministered to and healed them.
To the degree that you can look through this same lens, this same way of seeing things, that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, you will see it here and now on earth. You will see God’s supremacy and ability to heal and redeem the worst of situations.
In the kingdom of heaven there is no sorrow, no pain, no tears, no sin, no disease, no death (see Revelation 21:4, 27). This heavenly kingdom that we think of as way off in the future, Jesus saw as present here and now. When his disciples saw a blind man, a bothersome Samaritan woman, or a bunch of unruly children interfering with his important schedule, Jesus saw what was going on in the kingdom of heaven where no one could be blind, there was no label of unworthy Samaritan since God loved everyone, and the innocence of children was of supreme value.
Think about something you’ve been praying about? Maybe someone at work has been unfair to you. But that injustice and lack of love cannot enter heaven. What if you have some serious illness or disability? None of that can get into heaven either. Whatever you’re dealing with, the problem cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
That’s very reassuring.
To the degree that you can bear witness spiritually to the fact that these problems cannot exist in the kingdom of heaven and that this kingdom is actually at hand right now, you will be able to live your life more closely to the way Jesus lived, you will see what he saw, you will love as he loved, you will pray as he prayed. And you will heal as he healed.
We do have the mind of Christ. Accept this promise.
Right now, in the at-hand kingdom of heaven, you know you can’t do anything without God’s help. You rejoice to have resigned your will to His. You know your relationship with God. You know He always hears and answers your prayers and has already provided all you need. And you are completely conscious that God’s kingdom is here and now, that God is absolutely supreme every moment.
Blessing upon blessing to you,
P.S. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, especially if there’s another aspect of the mindset of Christ I haven’t mentioned. And if you know someone who needs to hear this message, please pass it along to them.