We have the mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16].
(Continuation of Part 1)
Most people can agree with these steps so far. Humble service – check. Victory over sin – got it. Godly mindset and loving heart – working on it. But now we face the nitty-gritty. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” [Matthew 16:24].
Most people know very little of true sacrifice. Sometimes, we think we’re sacrificing our time in ministry or if we give something up like periodic fasting. Yet, those pale in comparison to what Jesus has in mind. Personal denial, owning the stigma of the Cross, and obediently following Jesus involve a whole new realm of sacrifice.
The question is this: Is there evidence of the Cross in my life? Are my personal desires, goals, aspirations, and plans subject to God’s review and approval? Do I involve Him in every aspect of life? Do I actively demonstrate evidence of His death, burial, and newness of life? Can someone tell I’ve spent time with Jesus [Acts 4:13] or is there still too much of me when I look in the mirror?
Oh, I may readily proclaim, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” [Romans 1:16] when in church or around other believers. I may shout hallelujahs within my group of Christian friends or even tolerant unbelievers. But am I willing to stand – steadfast and resolute – when faced with my spiritual adversary or active persecution? Am I, like Jesus, willing to stand alone in my obedience to Him when no one else understands or joins me?
Walk by Faith
We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal [2 Corinthians 4:18].
The Christian journey is one of faith, not sight [2 Corinthians 5:7]. What I can see is temporary; the unseen is eternal. Yet, every day I surround myself with the “seen things” of this world. I’ve acclimated to walking by sight. The logical, and understandable appeals to me. If I can see, touch, smell, hear, measure, and calculate something, that’s comfortable.
The unknown, uncertain, and invisible is uncomfortable. Stepping out on nothing and trusting something to be there feels foreign. When life’s waves broadside me and swamp my fragile boat, trust tends to evaporate quickly and I long for the safety of the shore. I can see the shoreline. I know terra firma can uphold me.
Yet, the Word of God reminds me of the brevity and impermanence of this present world [1 John 2:17]. This physical realm will vanish one day. The spiritual realm, the unseen, is what endures. Seeing, touching, hearing, and measuring don’t require much faith. And whatever is not from faith is sin [Romans 14:23]. So, putting on the mind of Christ is to walk by faith.
One great way to walk by faith is to fill my mind with Christ. Oh, if I only maintained a mental picture of Jesus, high and lifted up, sitting on His glorious throne at the right hand of the Father! That stirring vision alone fills me with praises while also encouraging me to walk according to the faith He gives.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him [1 John 2:15].
We prioritize what we value most. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” [Luke 12:34]. I heard a pastor once say our checkbooks reflect our priorities. Where I spend my time and money will reveal what I value. Wow!
As a Christ follower, my citizenship is in heaven [Philippians 3:20]. I am an alien, stranger, and pilgrim simply passing through this life on my way to my eternal home [Hebrews 11:13-16]. I wasn’t made for this world or any of its trinkets. Everything I do in this world should pertain to the next. Nothing here should distract me or weigh me down. My life here should consist of a passing call inviting others to join my eternal home. My mind should be filled with visions of that city “whose maker and builder is God” [Hebrews 11:10].
But how do I do that? Again, it’s an active choice of my will. Paul uses active verbs to help identify the action. “Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” [Colossians 3:1-2, italics added].
Once I firmly believe heaven is my home and the things of this world are temporary and of little eternal investment, my priority instantly changes. I refuse to drive my stakes too deeply into this world. I invest little of my time, attention, and effort to possessions, places, and politics (yes, I went there!) of this temporal realm. Filling my mind with the world to come is tantamount – how I may please Him who is preparing it for me and how many others I bring along.
The mind of Christ keeps eternity in view. For the current day and time, Jesus says, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” [John 4:35]. As we approach the end times, He says, “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” [Luke 21:28]. No matter what day, time, circumstance, or condition, there is an upward look.
When Jesus lived on earth, He was ever mindful of the eternal “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” [Acts 2:23]. This world was not His home. He came from heaven and returned to heaven [Ephesians 4:10]. He is preparing a place for His followers and is returning one day soon to take us there [John 14:1-3].
With heaven as my eternal home, this present world is a temporary rental. I am here for only a brief moment, then I fly away to my eternal home to be forever with Jesus. I was created, designed, and purposed to be conformed to Christlikeness [Romans 8:29]. My willingness to become more like Him here on earth – to put on His mind – prepares me to be forever in His presence. Such like-mindedness ensures His favor and assists with my ultimate transformation. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” [1 John 3:2].
May all who claim to be Christ followers live in such a way as to boldly proclaim as Paul, “We have the mind of Christ”!