Having The Mind Of Christ

In his first letter to Corinth, the Apostle Paul said something that I am puzzling over:

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:14-16; emphasis is mine highlighting the part that I’ve been pondering.)

In a few recent sermons, including the one this past week, we in my church have been reminded that God is far beyond what we can know or understand, that even what we think we know now will pale in comparison to what He is really like. When we see Him, we’ll be utterly astounded.

Certainly there are some verses of Scripture that refer to God as far beyond what we can know. I’ve even written some posts on the subject, such as The Transcendence of God’s Mercy.

But then I read what Paul wrote: But we have the mind of Christ. We Christians. Going a little further into the context, Paul makes the point that no one really knows what a person is thinking except that person, in his spirit. And no one really knows what God is thinking except God’s Spirit.

Then he trumps it all by declaring that we have the mind of Christ. Which does make sense since the Spirit lives in each believer.

But practically speaking, what does this mean?

The odd thing is, after Paul says to the Corinthians that we have the mind of Christ, he flips the script and says, But I can’t even talk to you like mature Christians. You need me to feed you milk, not solid food.

But . . . but . . . but if we have the mind of Christ, why aren’t we seeing Him like He is? Why aren’t we knowing what His ways are, what His thoughts are?

In the case of the Corinthians, Paul says one reason is that they are “still fleshly.” Various translations render that phrase to be worldly, carnal, controlled by our sin nature, of the flesh, or influenced by the flesh.

So one thing that competes against the mind of Christ which we have, is an outlook that focuses on fleshly things, worldly things, things that appeal to our sin nature.

There’s something else that comes to mind. In his first letter to Thessalonica, Paul gave a list of instructions at the end:

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:14-19; emphasis mine).

Tying this idea with what Paul said to the Corinthians, I conclude that since the Spirit of God knows God, then quenching the Spirit would keep us from knowing the mind of Christ.

But what does “quench the Spirit” mean??

Kind of like, when you quench or put out a fire, you deny the flame one of the necessary elements: fuel, heat, oxygen.

Basically, then, Paul is saying it’s possible to deny something the Holy Spirit needs. Which would be what?

I can only think of one thing: our willingness to be led by Him, filled by Him, controlled by Him. If we decide to go our own way, our fleshly way instead, then we quench the Spirit, we sort of disconnect ourselves from the mind of Christ that Paul says we have.

Is that possible? For Christians?

Well, yeah, since it’s obvious we aren’t instantly perfected. Only instantly forgiven.

What’s that statement I’ve heard before . . . we have been justified (made right with God); we are being sanctified (remade into the image of Jesus); we will be glorified (given our new resurrected bodies that will be sin free).

I know this to be true in my own life when I fight the battle in my mind to do what’s right. I don’t actually think about it as choosing my way or God’s way. I’m usually trying to think why I should do one thing or the other. Or what do I feel like doing. That sort of quiet conflict is actually where the spiritual war really rages.

We have the mind of Christ. But do we unplug from what we have? I guess that’s the real question.

Published in: on February 24, 2020 at 5:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Good post, Becky.

    A bit of a light hearted example, I once felt the Holy Spirit tell me, “go tell that lady you like her blouse.” It’s a simple request, not exactly consequential, difficult, or expensive. Just the same I had to wrestle with so much fleshly rubbish. Am I sure this is the Holy Spirit prompting me? I don’t even know this woman! This could be embarrassing. Do I even like her blouse or am going to be lying? On and on it went, probably only 30 seconds of hesitation, but it felt like an intense battle. Finally I walked over and told her I like her blouse and she got all teary and we wound up hugging. It turns out she just needed some kindness at that very moment. I would never have known that, we were just passing one another in the grocery store.

    That’s one way I am keenly aware of how I can quench the Holy Spirit. When I’m tuned into the mind of Christ I can see people as He sees them, which is full of grace, mercy, and love. You’ll notice all my excuses above are very self focused. Too much of “us” in the equation and there is no room for Him.

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    • Awesome example, IB. Reminds me of what I recently heard on the radio—the speaker was waiting in line to get her coffee, or breakfast or what have you. She suddenly had the prompting to pay for the person behind her. But she was driving a nice car and dressed well. No doubt she didn’t actually need someone to pay for her. Still, the prompting was strong so she did. She then pulled forward to wait for her order. When the woman got her coffee, she stopped by to thank the one who had paid. In tears she told how she had just told God that she needed some evidence that He cared for her at all.

      These things seem like coincidences to people who don’t believe, but I don’t see why God wouldn’t give us nudges from His Spirit. He’s in our lives for a purpose!

      I can also tell you of stories when I felt a nudge and ignored it, only to live with regret because I did and things didn’t turn out well.

      But I think you nailed it when you mentioned trying to know if we’re hearing from God or if this is just our own idea. I think that uncertainty can cause a lot of quenching. I wonder if James’s word couldn’t apply here: if you lack wisdom, ask of God who gives to all generously . . .

      Becky

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