5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV)
One of the ideas that the bible strives to communicate is that the way that God operates and the way that God conceives of things is not the same as we do. Now, this may sound like an obvious statement. And, I will grant that on the surface that would be correct. What I want to point out is that this is not the practical reality for most of us who claim the name of Christian. For most people who self-identify as a follower of Jesus, the way that we live out our lives make a significantly different story. We tend to live as if God agreed with, or at the very list tolerates, how we go about the business of life. Because, hey, we are not perfect, right?!
“Faith’s task in the life of the believer is to move closer and closer to the way that God thinks.”
What I have realized is that the primary reason that we have to understand that God operates and processes information and decisions on a different wavelength is because if I do not I will not be able to receive what God gives. The Bible is filled with promises and blessings and curses and God’s perspective is not limited by time, space or consciousness. God comprehends all things perfectly. He sees everything as it should be and works to make it so when it is not that way. Therefore, faith’s task in the life of the believer is to move closer and closer to the way that God thinks. When this happens we are able apprehend much of what God is doing even when we cannot comprehend all that he is doing.
I chose the passage in Philippians because it demonstrates the practical application of what it means to live a life that has cultivated the mind of God. Jesus is our ultimate and final example for everything in life. He is the one that has best demonstrated and actualized a God-centered way of thinking.
Paul in Romans provides us with more of a “cause and effect” kind of definition to this reality.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)
In the pursuit of a renewed mind what we will be able to discern is the will of God. Now that is not something to be overlooked or minimized. The age old question of every believer has been to know what is the will of God. The implication here is that this awareness will only come when the patterns of thinking that emanate from the world are replaced with those that emerge from God.
One of the key changes that occurs, and I would argue MUST occur, is that the way a Christian thinks must change. This is a non-negotiable of what it means to have faith and be a follower of Christ. We are not here to continue thinking in the patterns of the world. We must become more and more like our Savior having the same mind that Jesus had as he fulfilled God’s will.