We have been talking about the importance of setting our minds upon that which is true – and upon The One Who is truth. Jesus came to initiate, and make provision for, the New Covenant – a Covenant with God, described as the Kingdom of God. He came with an open invitation to “Repent (change our thinking) and believe (act upon our new understandings) in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
But today, I want to take a step back and make certain that we don’t lose sight of something very essential. In all our focus upon changed thinking and changed mindsets, we can easily get sidetracked by the notion that we can actually reason our way to God – that we can figure out God, and His ways, by employing our mental capacities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It has been truly said that God is not a Mind, but a Spirit. This is just as Jesus told us: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). It is also rightly said that humans are spiritual beings as well. Scripture informs us that each of us has a physical body, a soul (our mind, our will, and our emotional capacities), and an eternal spirit. If God is a Spiritual Being, and we are spiritual beings, then we can be assured that His foremost desire is to connect with us Spirit to spirit (our spirits are the part of us most like Him [some have expressed that this is largely what God meant when He said we were “made in His image” in Genesis 1]). Spiritual communication does not initially come by any physical means. God “speaks” to our inner being, the spirit that exists within each of us. This is exactly the pattern revealed in Scripture: “As it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God… We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (from 1 Corinthians 2:9-12)
It follows, then, that the proper understanding of God and His ways begins with God’s initiation of revelation of His ways and His truth to our spirits. This happens by an act of God’s grace and comes by His Spirit to our spirits. What comes from heaven comes to our hearts (our spirits) to affect and move us, from within the core of our beings. The role of our minds is relegated to assisting us in processing and incorporating the things which God has revealed into our spirits. Clearly, God made us to be reasoning creatures – He gave us our minds to assist us in processing the infinite ways and thoughts of our Creator. But it is only the mind, engaged through the Spirit of God, that can truly discern and understand God’s Heart and Mind. As has been already mentioned: “We (those who have embraced Jesus and His work) have… received …the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:12) We are mistaken if we think that the infinite Mind of God may be understood solely by the natural reasonings of the finite minds of human beings.
Humanity invariably finds itself in profound trouble and serious error whenever we place inflated emphasis upon the human intellect (see Romans 1:18-32!). The sad state of human perversion begins with, and is perpetuated by, human reasoning (any “wisdom” devoid of the Creator’s truth). As Scripture explains of those who reject God’s wisdom for their own reasonings: “…their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (from Romans 1:21-22) Human “wisdom” is not the same as God’s wisdom – and, according to our Creator, human “wisdom” always leads to humanity’s demise.
For the unredeemed, and those who think like the unredeemed, God has said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” And of the folly of purely human reasoning God has said: “The wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (Isaiah 55:8-9; 29:14) Human reasoning, outside of the revelation of divine truth, will always outsmart itself…
But it is a different story for those who have embraced Jesus and His work on their behalf. The apostle reminds those who are devoted to Jesus of a new reality: “…you are in Christ Jesus, Who has become for us wisdom from God…” And, the powerfully succinct: “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:16) God has graciously made provision for us to know and understand Him, His thoughts, and His ways.
Our minds have a significant role to play in our Christian faith. Our minds, and our mindset, must be established upon the firm foundation of divine truth. But the true Christian faith does not begin with the intellect – it begins from the inside and works its way out. True faith begins from within our spirits, as we are drawn and led by God’s Own Spirit, to embrace and incorporate God’s ways and His thoughts as our own. This is central to a true faith and a true understanding…
Coming next… The role of Scripture in shaping our thoughts