Do you have a close friend, or perhaps a spouse, who you often find yourself almost "filling in the blanks" with something they were about to say - almost like you could "read their mind"? Indeed, you are not a mind reader - you are just close enough to this individual to understand how they think, almost anticipating their responses. There is a difference between "mind-reading" and just being totally aware of how someone thinks. In fact, scripture tells us WE are the only ones who know our thoughts - the things deep within our own minds. Somehow, in time, others can actually appreciate "how" we think, but they aren't actually "in our minds". Now, knowing the mind of God, that seems like a daunting thing, right? It seems like it would almost be an impossibility, right? Well, without God's Spirit in us, it would be, but we have been given his Spirit to abide within us so that we can fully get to know the mind of Christ.
God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. But God has given us his Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way that the people of this world think. That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us. (I Corinthians 2:10-12 CEV)
When we come to know the mind of Christ, we actually begin to think like him. It is just like that close friend we might have - we come to know exactly how they would think in the same circumstance and can almost predict their response. Christ's mind is not a difficult thing to understand when we have the right "tools" to understand. It is gracious of God to give us his Spirit, so we might have the power to unlock the hidden treasures he desires for us to know! Getting to understand the mind of Christ does something else for us - it helps us to understand when the thoughts we are considering are NOT from him! It helps us to recognize those thoughts as our own desires and lusts, or the impression of the world's desires within us.
The impact of God's Spirit within us is actually appreciated best when we consider the following:
- His Spirit shows us what we need to know. God recognizes our learning is incremental. We learn at different paces, at different times in our lives. There are times when we are open to learning all we can learn, taking in his truth and adapting to it quickly. He also knows there are times when we will struggle with it a little more simply because it is hard to let go of something we have held onto for so long - even if it wasn't truth! In his perfect way, he shows us what we need to know - then he helps us to get to the point of appreciating what he reveals.
- His Spirit connects us with the mind of Christ. Nothing else can open us up to truth in quite the same manner. We could attempt all manner of meditation, concentration, deliberation, etc., but these are merely self-directed, self-controlled means to uncover truth. I don't know about you, but if someone handed me truth versus me having to dig it up myself, I'd be grateful! When someone goes to the trouble to provide the connection we need and we ignore it or don't use it, we are simply making life harder than it needs to be!
- His Spirit helps us recognize the many blessings he has given us. Without his Spirit dwelling within us, we'd just consider the many blessings we receive as something we earned ourselves. When I stop to accurately consider the many blessings in my life, I am awestruck by the magnificence of not only the volume of blessings, but the depth of those blessings. I think God's Spirit helps us appreciate what we have been given in Christ Jesus. As we come into his presence and enjoy our union with him, we begin to assimilate his blessings. In time, we become more and more appreciative of what his presence produces within us.
We don't know the mind of Christ unless we have the Spirit of God indwelling us. The only way we have his Spirit indwelling is if we have said "Yes" to Jesus. In other words, we have asked him to be our Savior and have entered into relationship with him through the work of his Cross. Just sayin!