In the beginning Adam was created in the image and likeness of God. God created him to have a mind and a will in order to choose. To use New Covenant language we might say, he had the mind of Christ. So actually what happened at the fall was Adam lost his mind. Adam had made the decision to go with what Satan said rather than God. Therefore all who have been born of Adam are born operating from the mind of the enemy, or the mind naturally ours because of the fall.
The Bible admonishes us to “not lean on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and “There is a way that seems right to a man but the end leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). So we’re not supposed to live according to our natural reasoning because our natural reasoning is opposed to God. “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God” (Romans 8:7). Because, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Proverbs spends a considerable amount of time telling us to seek Wisdom. We are to “make our ear attentive to wisdom, incline our heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:2-5). So we see Wisdom is a woman who is to be sought after. The Wisdom of God is actually God Himself. It’s the knowledge “of” God not simply knowledge “from” God. In the New Covenant we discover “Christ Jesus became to us Wisdom from God…” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
It only makes sense to me if Wisdom from God is a woman, the enemy might just have a woman of his own. You see we have all been operating from the wrong mind or wisdom because of the fall. Part of what happened in the fall is the Wisdom of God departed. Once Adam, and subsequently all of us, was left without God’s Wisdom, or mind, natural reasoning was all we had left. The trouble is what I’m calling “natural reasoning” is actually the mind of the Harlot.
Proverbs seven shows us the mind of the harlot, who is a deceiver. She sees a naive young man lacking sense walking a bit too close to her house. What I would like for you to notice is the harlot works this foolish young man over through natural reasoning. She says, “Today I’ve paid my vows. I have spread my couch with coverings. I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. My husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey.” The young man blindly walks right into her web “as an ox goes to the slaughter.” That old harlot gave him every reason in the world why he should come to her place, and he went. You see we are absolutely no match for the craftiness of the enemy without the Wisdom of God. We are told “in all your getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). We are told to “Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your intimate friend; that they may keep you from the adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words” (Proverbs 7:4-5).
Ultimately we are all operating from one of two minds. Romans eight tells us “the mind set on the flesh (natural reasoning or mind of the harlot) is death, but the mind set on the Spirit (the Wisdom of God, mind of Christ) is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh(natural reasoning, satanic mind) is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God; for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh(natural reasoning, satanic mind) cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).
James tells us the wisdom from below is “earthly, natural and demonic…but the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:15-18).
The letter to the Philippians has a theme throughout it’s four chapters which is Paul’s admonishment to be of One Mind. In the very first chapter he tells them to “conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the ‘faith of the gospel.’
You see according to the scriptures all who have been born again are of the same Spirit and have been given the mind of Christ but we aren’t always operating from His mind. My friend Sylvia Pearce says, “Even though we Christians all have the heart of God we may still be operating with the mind of Satan.”
Well, how do we begin to operate from the mind of Christ then? Thankfully Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder but describes the mind of Christ in Philippians 2 saying, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Of course this is the very mind of Christ. Jesus Christ’s whole life was a life lived for another. He only did what His Father sent Him here to do and it was all for us. Even though by Him, through Him and for Him all things were created, He still gave up His own rights in order to set us free from our bondage of self-centered living. It truly takes the mind of Christ to do this in our lives. “The Servant” living in “the servant” is the only way.
In chapter two we also read about a couple of men that had the same mind and attitude as Paul so he trusted them to be his representative. He sent Timothy to Philippi in order to check on them. He said, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit (like minded) who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” So we see that the mind of Christ is defined by putting others first therefore the mind of Satan would be the opposite which is thinking of ourselves first. Doesn’t this sound like some of our Mothers? I grew up with two older sisters; and when you have siblings you have to learn how to see things from others perspective and how to share. This, I think, is some pretty good evidence we are all born with the Satanic mind. Hence the reason Paul admonishes us to “Let” this mind be in you. We have to let the mind of Christ operate in us or we will never come to the unity of the faith.
In Philippians three Paul tells a brief testimony of how he finally came to see his accomplishments and heritage as worthless compared to knowing Christ and gives them, and us, a warning about those that are earthly minded and self-seeking. He said, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” For those living only for earthly things there is no end to the cravings. If our appetites and earthly desires are the only thing driving us we will never be content. There truly is only one thing that brings human beings fulfillment and that is Christ himself.
As Paul finishes up his letter to the Philippians in chapter four he urges a couple women there to live in harmony or be of one mind in the Lord. Thankfully once again Paul doesn’t leave us wondering how to do this he gives us some very practical advice. He tells us to rejoice, be anxious for nothing but rather pray and be thankful as we let God know what we need. He then spells out for us what to let into our minds. He tells us to think only on things that are “True, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.” These are the secrets of the Apostle Paul’s thought life. By these things he has “learned to be content in whatever circumstances He’s in.”
While there are many, many troubles in this life there is one thing that is for sure. While we may have little or no ability to control the things that happen we do have the gift of the Mind of Christ and with that a choice in how to respond when these things find their way into our world.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
What is the meaning of it all? How do I make life work? Why am I here? Who am I? Is there a God and who is He or She? Which religion is correct? Do politics and politicians really make any difference and what about science and scientific discoveries? How do they help us in the search for meaning? There are so many questions in life and yet it seems everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on the answers; how can this be?
For me I have come to the conclusion the Bible really is the Word of God and has the final say when it comes to me understanding these great mysteries. For instance we are told in Romans 1 that what is within man and creation itself reveals the Creator to us. “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
God expresses himself through his creation and yet there are some that want to worship the creation rather than the Creator and then there are those who create their own images as if they are gods. I think this is because they don’t know Christ and the cross. According to the Bible Christ and his death, burial and resurrection is where all of these important questions begin to be answered.
When the Apostle Paul went to Mars Hill, as recorded in Acts 17, he found himself among a great crowd of people with quite a mixture of idols and misunderstanding’s about God. He found the people there to be very religious with many idols and yet they didn’t know God. So much so that they even had one altar with an inscription to the UNKNOWN GOD. It’s as if they didn’t want to take any chances of leaving any out, just in case. Of course Paul, filled with God’s wisdom as he was, took this inscription as an opportunity to tell them the truth.
Paul said to them, therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist…
What’s fascinating about this is Paul is talking to pagans and yet he tells them “In Him (God) we live and move and exist.” You see in a sense we are all in God after all he is what we call omnipresent. In other words there is nothing that exists outside of him. The problem these pagans, and many scientists and politicians of our day, have is they don’t know Jesus Christ as the express image of the Godhead. According to the scripture if you’ve seen Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, you have seen the Father.
If we look a little further into Paul’s statement in Athens he says in the past God overlooked such ignorance but not any more. “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising him from the dead.” This man of course is the man Jesus Christ!
While down through the age’s man worshiped idols made in the image of animals, comets that fell from the sky and many other false gods; now is the time to awaken from our sleep. It is not God’s desire that any perish but that we all come to repentance and turn to his Son who is the truth. God in man is our only hope and by faith we are joined to him through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Christ in us is the hope of Glory!
In the fall of Adam, and all of mankind in him, we died. In this death we lost our mind so we were susceptible to all sorts of delusions about who God really is which left us stumbling around as if sleepwalking through life. As a result we were unable to know or understand God or our purpose. Now that we have received Christ, by way of the cross, we have also received the mind of Christ.
God has always wanted us to know him in an intimate way. He wants us to know his ways just as it says in Psalms 103 “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” You see his plan is for us to rule his creation; but without his mind we simply can’t make that happen. Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom” and Paul told us “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.”
Simply put without the Spirit of God we will never discover the meaning of life. We can’t discover enough laws in nature or pass enough laws in congress to enable us to live properly. But once we start to walk in the principle of the cross which is a laid down life for others clarity will come. The collective consciousness will only be found in the mind of God which has been perfectly expressed through the life, death and resurrection of the man Jesus Christ. The good news about this is he isn’t simply a historical figure because he now lives within all who, by faith, have been joined to him through the cross which is always at the center of the heart of God.
The meaning of life turns out to be that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead!
Repentance is a great Bible word you don’t often hear outside of Christian circles or even in Christian circles for the most part. From time to time I ask people, I have the privilege to share the Word with, to define repentance for me. I usually get a few different answers such as being sorry, asking forgiveness or turning around. While all of these are part of what repentance means it all begins with a change of mind.
If you look up the word repentance in a Strong’s concordance you will discover at the base of it all it means “to think differently.” Of course if you think differently you will be sorry for your sins, ask forgiveness and turn around but thinking differently is the starting point. So, the big question then is how do we begin to think differently? The short answer is it takes a miracle.
Reading in Isaiah 14:13-14 you will discover what I call the root of all wrong thinking. These verses have come to represent for me how we all think until Christ grants us repentance. We all start out with the mindset that we are worthy to be number one and can make ourselves into something great! Of course this is exactly what got Adam, and us, into this whole sin thing to begin with, but never-mind that, it won’t happen to you, right? Well, that’s part of the problem too, isn’t it? We have all been deceived into thinking “It” won’t happen to me. I’m number one, everything revolves around me and everything and everyone is here to do my bidding.
You see “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbeliever”, but thank God he saw fit to miraculously give sight to those that hear the gospel, place their faith in it and are born again. When one is born again they receive the mind of Christ. Now that is good news!
Repentance then is when we have our minds changed from that of our former ruler, Satan, and now have the mind of Christ. The mind of Satan whispers to us that we’re able to make ourselves like God, and the mind of Christ tells us we are to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Although Jesus Christ was, himself, God he didn’t live as though he needed to exalt himself “rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (slave), and being made in the likeness of men, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Since Christ humbled himself; God exalted him. So you see the way to be exalted is by humbling yourself, and if you aren’t willing to humble yourself a sure way of being humbled is by exalting yourself. This is why we need to have a change of mind; because God’s ways truly aren’t our ways at least not until we have the mind of Christ.
When all is said and done there really is no amount of trying on our part that will bring us to repentance, in fact, the Bible tells us it is “the goodness of God that brings repentance.” There’s no doubt in my mind that it takes a work of God for us to even see we need a change of mind and another for us to receive the mind of Christ. So, no matter how you look at it; it takes a miracle. Thank God He’s still in the miracle business!
Tracey and I took our monthly journey to share the Word with the ladies in prison. We meet in the visitation building so the ladies have to walk from their dorms. It was quite cold this time so there was no dawdling to get from point A to point B. I told them the good thing about it being so cold is I know they’re all awake. You know how easy it is to get sleepy when you’re warm.
There were forty seven women in attendance and the room filled up quickly. Of course several of them went straight to the restroom. The rule is only one at a time can go so there were five or six standing outside the door waiting their turn. Others were finding where they wanted to sit. As much as I would like for them to come in, sit down and get focused it never happens that way. I guess there is a certain amount of settling in we all have to do; so I have learned to just let them get there in their own time. Eventually they were seated and facing the front long enough for me to introduce myself and read Romans 12:2 to them. I said, “Does anyone know what Romans 12:2 says? One lady, who Tracey knew from our local jail, started to quote it saying, “Don’t be conformed to the world… but be transformed.” I told them I was going to talk to them about transformation a little bit later. I led in an opening prayer, and Tracey came up to lead us in a few songs.
We sang one song and then two, but I could still sense a restlessness in the room. It wasn’t until about midway through the third song the unity of the Spirit seemed to appear. We were singing “Victory in Jesus.” All of them seemed to finally be focused and together and it was awesome. I tell you there is nothing like being in a prison when everyone is engaged and looking toward Christ. I don’t think I have ever left prison without a sense of awe and gratitude for how God shows up through the lives of people when they are totally sold out to him.
Tracey shared with the ladies about “What the enemy didn’t tell you.” One of the scriptures she used is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4 where we discover “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” She shared with them about how the devil is a liar and his specialty is manipulation. He has a way of selling us something that may look good on the front end but he doesn’t tell us all of the unintended consequences.
When it was my turn I read Romans 12:2 to them again and talked to them about how the temptation to be conformed to the world is always there but we don’t have to be squeezed into it. As a child of God I don’t have to dress like, talk like and live like everyone else. While this doesn’t mean I can’t have the clothes, cars or other things out there; it just means I don’t have to have them, and I don’t have to let them control me just because everyone else has them. After spending a few minutes talking about not being conformed to the world I moved on to transformation.
God isn’t into fixing up the old you, I told them. He is into making you into a brand new creation. You see he didn’t send his one and only Son into this world to die for sin so he can put us into a self-improvement program. You see he not only sent him here to die, but his plan involved us dying too. According to Romans six we, that were sinners, have been joined to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection so we might walk in newness of life. In Christ we have become new creatures and the old is gone. We’re not just washed off we have been made brand new!
As I told them of my transformation I shared with them about the process a caterpillar goes through in order to become a butterfly. For those that haven’t watched it I would encourage you to watch the video about this found on the home page of this blog. I won’t go into the details here, but let me just say once a caterpillar becomes a butterfly there is no going back. No butterfly ever wants to be a caterpillar again nor can he be. He has been transformed. The word transformed comes from the Greek word metamorphoo, which is where we get our word metamorphosis, meaning to change, transfigure, transform. Just as the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly we too have been changed from a sinner into a Christian. Once we have been transformed there is no turning back.
I spent the rest of the time talking to them about the renewing of our minds. I shared with them how if we are new creatures “butterflies” we have to start thinking like it. We can’t go around thinking caterpillar thoughts expecting to live butterfly lives. All we need is in Christ, and if Christ is in us then we have all we need. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds when putting on the new self.
The story of the younger brother found in Luke 15 never gets old. It seems I get a little glimmer of something new every time I read it. This time it was the first part of verse 17 that says, “But when he came to his senses or came to himself.” Now days I think we might say he was out of his mind.
The whole idea of being out of ones mind is what I caught onto today. Sometimes it seems all of humanity has lost their minds doesn’t it? I mean think about it for a minute. If we were in our right minds we wouldn’t do some of the things we do such as abuse drugs and alcohol, eat like we do and burn the candle at both ends. It’s almost as if there has been a spell cast on us. What about those that want to have the right to kill babies in the womb and yet get bent out of shape if an animal is abused or a tree is chopped down? This has to be an insanity of sorts don’t you think?
In the Old Testament there is a confrontation between Samuel and Saul because Saul didn’t do what God told him to. Of course Saul was full of excuses and tried to justify himself, but Samuel told him “For rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft), and insubordination (stubbornness) is as iniquity and idolatry.” With all of Saul’s excuses and justification he seemed to be trying to manipulate Samuel almost like putting a spell on him in order to get what he wanted which was out of trouble.
The Apostle Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” So there is a blindness that comes from being joined to the ultimate rebel and it keeps us from seeing the truth. Paul told Timothy he must “be patient and gentle with those that oppose themselves…so they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, which are taken captive by him to do his will.” No one would knowingly join the enemy of God if there wasn’t some sort of deception involved would they?
Therefore the solution to our problem is in receiving the mind of Christ which is the only right mind and the mind God always intended for us to have. When Adam set himself up as ruler of his own life he lost his mind and left himself open for deception which is exactly what the enemy was looking for. He saw an opportunity and pounced! Deception brought about rebellion which is as divination. This spell or trick brought about a blindness which lead to more and more rebellion. Thankfully God didn’t leave us in that condition but instead has granted us revelation by his Spirit.
Do you remember Jesus asked the disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter responded “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you but my Father in Heaven.” It takes enlightenment from God himself to bring us back to our senses. The difficult part is, like the younger son, we tend to find ourselves in some pretty tight spots before we’re ready to hear. I thank God I finally did see that I was out of my mind and through Christ found my way back to the Father.
Written by Louie