Summary: What does it mean to have the mind of Christ?
WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST
We have been given an incredible gift. The Apostle Paul tells us that we have the mind of Christ. And in this study we want to focus on what that means for us as people who have become witnesses of the cross of Jesus (for having heard the message of the cross in our previous study, you have seen the glory of the cross). If you believed what you heard and saw then you have received the mind of Christ.
The mind is the steering wheel of your person. Everything we do is amazingly computed and transferred to the corresponding actions through the mind. What we choose to do and believe comes from the working of the mind. However, our minds can fail us and our thinking can be faulty.
My favorite quote on the mind comes from Dan Quayle, Vice President under George Bush senior. When speaking to the United Negro College Fund he said, “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” His intention was to quote UNCF’s slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” But history remembers differently.
Quayle, our example of a wasted mind, is remembered for his great quotes, such as these: “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” And, “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.” “One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is `to be prepared’.” And finally, “If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.” (The Quayle quote hall of fame).
You try saying the right thing all the time with a microphone stuck in your face 24-7. It is no wonder that God saw fit to give us the mind of Christ; our minds can get us into a lot of trouble if we open our mouths to use them.
We learn from our passage today that there are only three categories of thinking you and I fall into. This begs the question: What kind of mind do you have?
Do you have the mind of the natural person?
Of course I do, you think to yourself. I am a natural person. I am as natural as the next guy. What do you mean natural?
The natural mind is the mind you are born with. It is a mind that is capable of learning many things, creating, inspiring and developing in many ways. It is the natural mind that built the Eiffel Tower; it is the natural mind that wrote “to be or not to be.”
But no matter how amazing the works of the natural mind can, the person with the natural mind cannot understand the things of the Holy Spirit. This person is what we call unregenerated; this person is not transformed by the renewing of his or her mind through believing in Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Spiritual things are tedious and burdensome to the natural mind. Grasping the mystery of the cross is elusive for the person with this mind.
Paul described this person in v. 14: The (person) without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
No other time was this as clear to me as when a group of us went to watch The Passion of the Christ at the movie theater. I had already watched the movie and knew it would be an emotional roller coaster for my friends and me. It was incredibly hard not to weep at the dramatic and poignant portrayal of what Christ went through for us. But what struck me as odd was the couple in front of us. All through the movie they ate pizza, drank soda and yawned. They were restless but not from wrestling with the powerful images; they wrestled with their boredom. Others in the theater also showed disinterest and a lack of appreciation for what they saw. I know not everyone liked the movie; however, it was clear that some people didn’t get it. They just didn’t get it. They were there out of curiosity for what Mel Gibson had done, not what Christ had done.
The natural mind is not able to appreciate those things which make up the beauty and awe of the spiritual realm, the things of the Spirit of God. These things are foolish to him or her whose mind is natural. These minds are handicapped to the spiritual meaning and undertones of life around them. These minds might be able to understand geography, history, algebra and philosophy but spiritual things are incomprehensible to them. They lack the capacity to see the Cross for what it is. Therefore what is foolish and fable to them they cannot understand or communicate to others.