Have you lost your mind?

Has anyone ever asked you “Have you lost your mind?” Perhaps at that moment they were convinced that whatever it was that you were doing or saying was completely crazy. Perhaps as believers we have lost our minds…and that would be a really good thing!

Throughout his letters Paul exhorts his readers to be of one mind, and one spirit. In Philippians 1:26-27 he encourages them to:

…let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”.

Over in Romans 15:5-6 Paul writes:

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So what is this “one mind” thing that Paul is referring to? Does it mean we are to all think the exact same thing all the time? Is this brainwashing of the religious kind? Well, in a manner of speaking yes. When we are saved we become a new creation. There are several things that happen to us the moment we are saved. Two of the things that happen when we are saved: the first is that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and a second is that we are given the mind of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Paul writes to the church regarding their behavior and reminds them that as believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, they have the capacity to understand the deep things of God. In verse 16 Paul writes “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” What an incredible truth about the redeemed believer…that we have the “mind of Christ”. So this of course begs the question…what is the “mind of Christ”?

First and foremost it is the heart of Christ for the Gospel. Christ came to seek and save the lost. But more than that it is also all that Christ taught, lived out, shared, modeled, everything he did demonstrated his mind. In John 15:15 Jesus speaking to the disciples said “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  The mind of Christ is so much more than we know now, but as we seek the wisdom of God through study and prayer, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we grow in our understanding of the mind of Christ.  As we live our lives as believers we renew our minds, immersing ourselves in God’s word so that we might be sanctified in His truth, because His word is truth (John 17:17).

May we be losing our worldly minds, and growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the deep things of God and living in obedience to God with the mind of Christ!

 

 

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Perplexed…but not despairing

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Sometimes the situations in life that we find ourselves in are just plain hard.  It can be hard to endure through a trial in life.  It can be hard to persevere in the midst of extreme pressures in life.  It can be hard to stand firm when the seas are raging and the waves are buffeting us.  It can be hard to suffer for the sake of Christ Jesus.

Affliction is just plain hard.

In 2 Corinthians 4:8b Paul writes that “We areperplexed, but not driven to despair“.  In the midst of afflictions Paul was perplexed at times.  Perhaps there was doubt.  Perhaps there was a lack of understanding as to why things were going the way they were.  Maybe he realized that he was just unable to fix the problem on his own and wasn’t sure what to do.  Despite being perplexed, he never lost hope…he didn’t despair.  Have you ever been there?  Have you ever been at the end of yourself with no idea what to do next…no idea how to get out of the affliction?  Have you ever found yourself buried by the difficulties in life, the physical, emotional, mental struggles with the things that seem to bring you to a point of near hopelessness?

Now come on, if there was ever a persecuted Christian that could be driven to despair it was Paul.  If there was ever a person that could throw up the white flag and say enough with the beatings and scourging and prison time, it was Paul.  But no, Paul wasn’t driven to despair.  Rather than despair, in the midst of the afflictions, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, he carried on…he persevered…and he did so in order that Christ could be magnified.   He persevered through it all by carrying with him the memory, the example, of the suffering death of Jesus.  He endured by holding fast to that knowledge, so that in his own afflictions he might manifest Christ to others.

Are afflictions hard? Yes, absolutely. Are we perplexed by them sometimes? Of course! Do we sometimes feel like we are at the edge of despair? If we are honest with ourselves, yes. But as Paul wrote, we are to be remembering the sacrificial affliction of Jesus “…so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”  In our times of affliction we must live with the awareness of the suffering death of Christ, so that through our “momentary afflictions” we too might manifest the sacrificial love and righteous life of Jesus.