The Christian Mind and Its Ramifications

I’m having a spot of bother upgrading my blog.  This is either down to the incompetence of others or myself.  If I were a betting man I would bet the lot on me!  In the meantime here is something I sort of liked when I first wrote it in Sept. 07.

The New Testament is clear about the fact that believers are to adopt a “renewed mind” (Rom. 12:2), that they “walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having their understanding darkened…” (Eph. 4:17b-18a), but rather, that they are to “be renewed in the spirit of their mind” (Eph. 4:23), having “learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20b). Christians are to live by “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

Now, if this is such a clear teaching in the Bible, how come many Christian pastors, authors, and educators teach as if ‘the Christian mind’ is something that can only be used when one is thinking about “spiritual things”? It’s as if they believe that “the mind of Christ” which Paul speaks about at the end of the second chapter of First Corinthians, only functions well in that small subdivision of our lives we call the religious or spiritual life. What is the problem here?

I think the issue is that Christians have not allowed the ramifications of the New Testament doctrine of the Christian Mind to permeate their daily existence. They have not worked out and applied the consequences of “bringing every thought captive to Jesus Christ” as Paul says it in Second Corinthians 10:5. To put it plainly, many Christians split their thinking, and hence their lives, into the spiritual and the secular (or, the sacred and profane, or fact [for worldly affairs] and value [for spiritual things]). They do not acknowledge the fact that all of life is really enclosed within the spiritual. That is why God expects us to even eat and drink to His glory (1 Cor.10:31), so that “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.” (Col. 3:17).

This false dichotomy, which is schizophrenic in its manifestations, is what allows Christians to be wrapped up in the materialist hedonism of Western culture. The missions fund at their church, or the paltry salary of their pastor are seen as trivial things, but their $750.00 a month car payment, and their boats and bikes and assemblage of stuff is excused because “everybody does it.” Again, this pigeon-holing of the spiritual part of life is what makes it easier for some believers to be edgy and even unscrupulous in their business dealings. It soothes the conscience to believe that God only watches over our church-life, and that He would not trespass our personal decisions and judge our priorities or delve too deeply into our motives.

On a still more crucial plain, this part-dependent, part-autonomous mindset is what lays behind much that is taught in seminary “Christian Ed.” courses and “Christian Counseling” curricula. It even permeates theological studies by allowing unaided reason (via natural theology) to prove whether God exists and whether He has actually spoken in the Bible. But what is a child of light who has been rescued from cognitive darkness doing in thinking this way? Does he or she think that their former unbelief was simply a matter of a lack of information? Do they not know that “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7)?

God is not glorified when one of His children backtracks into the darkness in order to run his business, settle marriage disputes, choose a church or college, or even witness to unbelievers. The angels are not impressed when a child of God brashly puts down “the Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) and tackles “this present evil world” with his own understanding (cf. Prov. 3:5-6)!

When Scripture declares that “Christ is all” (Col. 3:11b) and that we are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10) it means just that! Let us not excuse ourselves when we run our affairs in direct opposition to it. Instead, let us strive to comprehend what it really means to have the privilege to be “in Christ Jesus.”

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2 comments

  1. It’s easier to go thru the motions of appearing to be better than others in my own eyes. As long as I’m not doing the big ones I’m better than my neighbor, who has a whole sorted list of sin. Compared to him, I’m an angel. Of course I’m half way kidding as long as I don’t examine myself to closely. Like say with the word of God.

    Our reasoning is away from being holy and we trade the truth for a lie just like Eve did. I’m reading a book by Jerry Bridges called, The Pursuit of Holiness. Here’s a quote from the last paragraph of page 30.

    “The holiness of God is an exceedingly high standard, a perfect standard. But it is nevertheless one that He holds us to. He cannot do less. While it is true that He accepts us solely through the merit of Christ, God’s standard for our character, attitudes, affections, and actions is, “Be holy because I am holy.” We must take this seriously if we are to grow in holiness.”

    This is so much easier said than done. Especially without accountability from brothers and sisters in Christ. Friends who will tell us what we need to hear instead of what we want to hear.

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