Summary: How to have "The Mind of Christ" as illustrated by Dr. Dennis Kinlaw in his book by the same name.
F. B. Meyer once said, “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian character, the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.” God has a plan for our life. God has many blessings and gifts that He wants to bestow upon us. One of the best gifts He offers us is His will for our life. God’s plan for our life is so much better that our plan for our life. It may not seem that way to begin with, but time will prove it true. What we have to do daily is to let God’s will increase as our will decreases.
I’d like to start back in Genesis 12 where we have the story of Abram, I’d like to look at John’s gospel some, and bring to our minds some important things that we can tie together with the passage I just read, so we can see how best to have “The Mind of Christ”. In Genesis 12 God had promised Abram a son in his old age, and Abram thought that God needed help with His promise. What happens here in Genesis 12 happens before God gives His law to the people through Moses. So, following the Code of Hammurabi, which was the set of laws and rules of that day, he decided to have a son through his wife Sarai’s servant Hagar. This was an acceptable worldly solution for his wife being barren. The problem is God doesn’t work within our laws and our timeframe; He works within His own law and His own timeframe. The story of Abram and Sarai also underscores why our modern evangelical views of sin and redemption are sorely inadequate to explain the full scope of our problem, or God’s response to that problem. We can never do enough on our own to get right with God. Abram tried to follow the rules, laws, and proper procedures of his time, but that wasn’t what put Him right with God. We can do all the good deeds, say all the right things, and give to all the right organizations, but that won’t put us right with God. In fact Abram, while following those customs, only made things worse. Think of the centuries-old conflict that has developed between Abram’s two sons. God did end up giving Abram and Sarai a son name Isaac, but not before Abram had a son named Ishmael through his own efforts with Hager. We have the descendants of Isaac—who are now the Jews, and the descendants of Ishmael—who are now the Muslims. The Jews and the Muslims are in the news almost daily fighting over land in the Middle East. The hottest powder keg in the world today is the result of Abram’s relationship with Hagar. Abram thought that God needed help, but God is more than able to make good on His promises. No other place is this proven more true than with Jesus. God promised a Deliverer, and God provided in His own way in His own time. See when we try to help God, when we think that our efforts will contribute in making God’s plan better then we have got a problem. God took the first step toward Abram with the promise, but Abram had to choose to believe. Abram was put right with God because God decided to provide a way for his redemption. We are also put right with God because God choose to provide a way for our redemption as well. However, just because God provided a way that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do anything. My girlfriend Amber can tell you that I’m not a big fan of church signs. However, I saw a church sign once that I actually liked, it said: “God loves you, but that is not enough.” That’s very true, just because God loves us doesn’t mean that everything is ok. We must accept that love, and allow Him fill us with that love. Abram had to accept what God was going to do for him. We must accept what God, through His Son Jesus Christ, has done for us. We are to receive freely of God’s gracious provision. We must make a conscious choice to accept God, and then to work daily at developing more and more like Him as we daily allow His will to increase as our will decreases.
The first thing we must understand is that Jesus Christ is God. Everything that is said about God the Father can be said about God the Son, who is Jesus Christ. He came to earth as a glorious King, but not as the King the Jews expected. In John’s gospel we are shown four symbols of this glorious King; the first being “the rejectable King”. John 1:11 says: “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Again, we are not forced to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior; we were given free will and have the ability to say no. To receive Christ, though, is to acknowledge Him as the promised Messiah; to believe in Him as the victim that bears away the sin of the world; to obey His Gospel, and to become a partaker of His holiness. Without having that holiness, according to the Gospel plan, we can never see God. God invites us unto Himself, He wants to have a relationship with us, but over and over again we choose to do things are own way. We may even believe everything in the Bible, but we believe that we determine our own destiny, by that I mean, we think that we hold our life in our hands. So we are content to say, as the old hymn goes: