Updated: Feb 10
“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us...Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:12, 16 NIV).
What an amazing proclamation scripture makes: by God’s Spirit, we have the mind of Christ! Although I am a follower of Jesus, I often feel like my chaotic thoughts do not align with Jesus’ perfect thinking and ways. Perhaps you can relate? Why is this a struggle for so many of us? In this scripture, the use of the word “mind,” as opposed to “thoughts” or another noun, is very deliberate. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the word mind as “the part of a person that makes it possible for him or her to think.” (1) In other words, while the Spirit of God graciously gives his children the equipment or apparatus of Christ - his mind - the challenge is knowing how to use this gift and access its power in our daily lives.
Years ago, my parents surprised me with my first car. I was overjoyed by their generosity and equally thrilled by all the possibilities that were now available to me. The freedom to go where I wanted was now mine! There was one problem though: I didn’t know how to drive the car. Although I physically possessed it, I had no access to the power and freedom it offered. Only by reading the manual, taking driver’s education classes, and practicing driving could I tap into the many perks of having a car. Having the mind of Christ is similar. We have the apparatus but cannot begin to fully engage the use of its power until we read the manual - the Bible - and regularly practice being in step with the Holy Spirit. While plugging in to a community of believers is an essential component for pursuing maturity in Christ – Proverbs 27:17 CEV says, “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” – this reflection will focus our attention on the use of scripture, prayer and making room for the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we grow as individuals in our knowledge of how to use the mind of Christ and begin taking back ground in our thought lives.
So, let’s get started...
Read: Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s pray: Lord, when anxiety wants to creep in, I want talking to you to be my first priority. Help me to trust that you are always available and willing to listen and offer help. As I make my requests to you, I also want to thank you for all you have already done in my life; I recognize all the ways you’ve helped me through episodes of worry. As I continue on with a heart of gratitude, keeping my eyes focused on you as my deliverer, I believe your peace, “which transcends all understanding” will enter my mind. Thank you, Lord, for this victory I have in you!
Pause to listen to what the Holy Spirit might be speaking to you in relation to this scripture and prayer.
Read: Philippians 4:8 NIV
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Let’s pray: Father, help me to think on the best and believe the best in others. I don’t want to dwell on hurts of my past, be negative about the present, nor anxiously fixate on the “what if’s” of my future. May I not give my mental and emotional energy to things that are unproductive. Help me to think on what is right, pure, and lovely. Lord, help me to fix my thoughts on you. And when negativity wants to creep back in, I will turn to scripture - reading and reciting it again and again in pursuit of the freedom you offer to me. My mind is yours; may you be glorified in it!
Write down some of the negative thoughts you tend to have. Imagine leaving them at the feet of Jesus.
Now, write down some thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Ask God to multiply them.
Read: 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Let's pray: Pause to listen to what God’s Spirit might want to speak and write your OWN prayer.
Take some time to write down and memorize one of the three scriptures above. Bring it to mind and recite it aloud as a prayer whenever you feel stuck in negative thinking.
Romans 12:2 NIV says,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [emphasis added]. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers describes the renewed mind as, “the mind acting under the influence of the Spirit.”2 God graciously gives us his Spirit when we accept him as Lord of our lives. This comes with a renewed mind, also known as the mind of Christ. As we fill our minds with scripture and allow our thoughts to be shaped by God instead of other influences, we fuel the engine of the mind given to us by God’s Spirit.
How did Jesus himself use scripture to keep his mind focused on what was right? There’s a perfect example in the gospel of Matthew:
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:1-11 NIV).
Notice, each time Jesus was tempted by Satan, his comeback was scripture. He didn’t debate with his adversary; his consistent response to the enemy’s provocations was a quote from the Bible. Scripture memorization is key to defeating the thoughts and tactics of the enemy of your soul.
Be encouraged; God has given us the right tools to establish him as king of our thought lives. A psalmist wrote, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:5 NIV). As we place our hope in Jesus and surrender our thoughts to the teachings of his word, he will guide us in his truth and our thought lives will never be the same!
Let’s pray some of the lyrics from the song Mind of Christ: “What is true, what is right, what is noble in your sight – these things I’ll dwell upon and I’ll fix my eyes on the risen one. And because your Spirit lives in me I’ll stand upon this truth – the old has passed away and my mind has been made new. So, mind of Christ, be my guide. Every thought I surrender to your ways. Every fear is broken by the power of your name. My mind is renewed as I place my trust in you.”