May the mind of Christ my Savior– Kate B. Wilkinson (1859–1928)
Live in me from day to day;
By his love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.
These words should strike a nerve in the hearts of Christians. Taken from the text of Philippians 2:5, Wilkinson captures in poetic language what should be the yearning of every believer’s heart: “I need the mind of Christ today.”
A major need of the Christian church today is to cultivate a Christian—or a Christlike—mind. Hughes captures this need when he writes, “The great scandal of today’s church [is] Christians without Christian minds.”1R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 71.
Many Christians are unfortunately following society’s focus of being primarily feelings-oriented. We tend to value how we feel more than what we are thinking. When our feelings are not what we want them to be, we manipulate them by running to the next emotional “hit,” much like the drug-addict does with his next fix.
Christians, however, are to live above mere emotional living. Paul urges believers to cultivate mental sobriety (Titus 2:2, 5, 6, 11–12). Sobriety is more than just abstaining from alcoholic beverages. Biblical sobriety means that the Holy Spirit controls our thinking.
It is not that our emotions are evil; while they make great servants, they do not generally make great masters. The mind needs to rule over our emotions through the power of the Spirit of God.
Layton Talbert writes, “Biblical actions and reactions begin with biblical thinking.”2Layton Talbert, Beyond Suffering (Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2007), 244. If we want to respond to life’s difficulties, stresses, heartaches, and pressures, we will not be able to do that apart from the Spirit of God through the Word of God.
While no Christian would deny that truth, many Christians fail to develop that truth in their lives. The time to prepare our minds and our hearts to respond biblically to a difficulty is not when the difficulty comes. If you wait that long, it is too late. Our brains need to be trained in the Word of God daily so that we can respond biblically to life’s trials, whatever they might be, and whenever they might occur.
How can we grow in our thinking to be more like Jesus Christ?
1. Consistent Bible intake
Scripturally, we know this is true based on 2 Corinthians 3:18. Yet the Spirit will not change our thinking if we are not regularly saturating ourselves with Scripture. Hughes writes, “the way to a Christian mind is through God’s Word.”3Hughes, Disciplines, 77.
Spurgeon said of John Bunyan, “Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him.”4“Mr. Spurgeon as a Literary Man,” in The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Compiled from His Letters, Diaries, and Records by His Wife and Private Secretary (Curtis & Jennings, 1900), … Continue reading Bleeding Bibline does not happen by accident. It requires much time, devotion, and submission to the Word of God on a daily basis.
2. Pay attention to our thoughts more than our feelings
Jim Berg writes, “If we are going to quiet the noise in our souls, we will have to track our thinking not our feelings, and then we must evaluate those thoughts against the Word of God” (emphasis his).5Jim Berg, God is More Than Enough (Greenville, SC: Journeyforth, 2010), 1.
What we think about the issues of life is more important than how we feel about them. When our thoughts are in alignment with the truth of God’s Word, our feelings will naturally fall into their proper place.
Meditation on the Word of God is not as mystical as many Christians may think. It merely requires concentrated effort to think about biblical truth from different angles, making applications to one’s life in response.
Meditation on Scripture helps secure the mind of Christ, rather than the mindset of the world. Scriptural meditation is a discipline that believers must learn to cultivate. David Saxton writes, “When he meditates, the believer fills his mind with truth so that his life becomes governed by the attitude of the Savior.”6David Saxton, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 2.
Discernment requires the ability to make judgments based on biblical truth. We discern truth from error, right from wrong, good from evil. We are also called upon to make discerning choices between mediocrity and excellence.
There are certain things that Christians are to refuse, not necessarily because they are evil, but because they are not best. Again, Hughes writes, “A Christian mind demands conscious negation; a Christian mind is impossible without the discipline of refusal.”7Hughes, Disciplines, 73.
If we are going to have the mind of Christ live in us from day to day, and cultivate sober-thinking in our lives, then it is imperative that Christians train their brains by the grace of God and the Spirit of God. Furthermore, if our children are to develop the mind of Christ as believers, they must see the value of this in their Christian parents, giving them a thirst for it themselves.
Our minds are often the target of Satan’s attacks. If he can get us to think less like Christ and more like the world, he knows he can get us to live more like the world and less like Christ. Thinking like Christ is something that we grow in over time, yet we must pursue it daily, allowing the Scriptures to not only saturate our minds, but also then to impact how we live.
When you read the news headlines, is the Bible guiding your responses? When you engage in social media, are you exercising biblical discerning with what you “like” and how you comment? When you relate to your family at home, are your words and responses regulated more by the Scriptures than by your feelings?
These are just a few of the many applications of this idea. May the mind of Christ live in us more and more every day, for his glory alone.
|1||R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 71.|
|2||Layton Talbert, Beyond Suffering (Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2007), 244.|
|3||Hughes, Disciplines, 77.|
|4||“Mr. Spurgeon as a Literary Man,” in The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Compiled from His Letters, Diaries, and Records by His Wife and Private Secretary (Curtis & Jennings, 1900), IV: 268.  Jim Berg, God is More Than Enough (Greenville, SC: Journeyforth, 2010), 1.|
|5||Jim Berg, God is More Than Enough (Greenville, SC: Journeyforth, 2010), 1.|
|6||David Saxton, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 2.|
|7||Hughes, Disciplines, 73.|