The mind of Christ: Do You Display the Mind of Christ, or are You Just Like the Rest of the World?
Our study for today is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:
13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? – 1 Corinthians 2:13 to 3:4
In this part, Paul discusses three types of people and their attitude towards salvation: the natural man; the spiritual man; and the carnal man.
- The natural man is as he was born, in sin and without the Holy Spirit present in his life. He does not accept or understand how God’s plan for man works and he sees it as foolishness. This is because these things can only be understood by those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they allow the Spirit to guide their lives.
- The spiritual man used to be a natural man, but he has allowed the Holy Spirit to change him so that he no longer views God’s plan through the eyes of someone who is lost but sees the full picture. He demonstrates the mind of Christ.
- The carnal man has been saved, but because he has not grown in the Spirit, he remains immature – a baby in Christ. This is the group that Paul focuses on here.
Returning to the spiritual man, Paul says of him, representative of all Spirit-filled believers, that he judges all things, but he himself is not judged by anyone. He also says that this person has the mind of Christ. What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? If the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then you are more than adequately equipped to cope with the demands of life. Your decisions and actions are in line with God’s will for your life and this is the reason why you are not judged.
Paul now focuses on the carnal man again, those who have been saved, but have also strayed off the narrow way. He accuses the church in Corinth to be like this and while he wants to feed them with meat, moving away from the basics of the gospel towards spiritual maturity. He accepts, and is no doubt disappointed, that they have not grown the way he wanted them to grow. He then gives them examples of areas where they have demonstrated that while they are no longer unsaved, they are not growing spiritually either, and have stranded in no man’s land. He accuses them of having envy towards one another; that they strife, argue, and are divided. He even points out how they have formed clicks in the church, where some say they are Paul’s converts, and some say they are Apollos’ people. Does this sound like what is going on in your church today? I remember that this happened in a church I was in, and the outcome of the division permanently ruined relationships. Let us look at the examples he points out.
Paul himself in his letter to the Galatians, and James in his epistle, warns of envy:
26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:26
14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. – James 3:14-16
15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will. – Philippians 1:15
As you can see, envy and strife go together. Paul finds this even in the church in Philippi. It is not restricted to the church in Corinth.
17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. – Romans 16:17
These are all examples of a mind that is not of Christ. In many cases today, life inside the church is no different from that outside in the world. It is no wonder then that many who could have come to salvation, die in their sins. If we as believers do not act differently than the world, how are they going to see Christ reflected in us, showing that we are different?
Demonstrating the mind of Christ requires tremendous spiritual discipline and growth, something many of the churches Paul wrote to, had problems with. If we want to stand out as believers in a time when there is unbelievable spiritual death all around us, then we should be rooted more than ever in the Word of God, with the Holy Spirit to guide us in difficult situations. Jesus wants us to allow the sun to shine on others, and not be envious of them; He wants there to be peace in the church, not strife; He wants unity, not division. This is how His mind works, demonstrated by Paul and the other contributors that make up the Word of God.
What is your challenge for the week? Are you going to just be like the world and see people tragically lost, or are you going to draw them over to Christ, because you have displayed His state of mind? You are the example your lost friends and family need. Set the right example.