Thinking Like Jesus

I saw an ad a few years ago from a fund-raising organization for colleges that had this tag line: “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  The Bible tells us how important the mind is and contains many exhortations about the condition and content of our minds.  For example:

  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37 NKJV)
  • For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6 NKJV)
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)
  • For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV)

“We have the mind of Christ.”  What did the apostle Paul mean by that?  He elaborates in his letter to the Philippians.

  • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV)

According to Paul, the “mind” of Christ is an approach to living that does not focus on personal interests or desires and does not cling to personal privilege or prerogative.  Having the “mind” of Christ leads a person to sacrifice self for the good of others.  This is what Jesus did in his incarnation, and it is the example He calls us to follow in our lives.  Kate Wilkinson’s prayer hymn, May the Mind of Christ My Savior, beautifully expresses the desire to have the mind of Christ.

May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day;
By His love and power controlling all I do and say.

As we yield our minds to the thoughts and attitudes that please the Lord, our outlook is guided by His love and our daily living is empowered by His Spirit.  We take no credit for what good we may accomplish but give praise for His presence and guidance in our lives.

May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour;
So that all may see I triumph only through His power.

As the mind of Christ controls our living, the peace of God keeps us steady no matter the turmoil we face in life.

May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything;
That I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing – this is victory.

“Him exalting, self-abasing.” The mind of Christ is a humble mind.  To have the mind of Christ is to make much of Christ rather than self.  The early church father Chrysostom said, “If you are in love with precedence and the highest honor, pursue the things in last place, pursue being the least valued of all, pursue being the lowliest of all, pursue being the smallest of all, pursue placing yourself behind others.”[1]  As C. S. Lewis wrote, true humility is “. . . not thinking less of our selves but thinking of our selves less.”

May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe;
Looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

Athletes who run races are coached to never look back but always keep their focus on what is ahead of them in the race – particularly focusing on the finish line.  So it is in the Christian life.  Having the mind of Christ leads us to live by “. . . forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,” always looking “. . . toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).  May our greatest desire be to win the prize of God’s “well done” at the end of life, leaving a legacy of active involvement in building His Kingdom.

May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win;
And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.

The Norton Hall Band released an arrangement of this hymn that you can enjoy at this link:

“May the Mind of Christ My Savior” – Norton Hall Band

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[1] Chrysostom, The Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily 58.

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Filed under Humility, Mind of Christ, Prayer, Singing

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