Think About What You Think About
In continuing with my love of the book of Philippians this month I’ve been struck by how often we are told to watch how we think. Specifically in Chapter 2 of Philippians, beginning at verse 1 we read; “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” And then in verse 4 of the same chapter we read; “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
Let’s examine “the same mindset.” The thesaurus suggests this word can be substituted for attitude, mental make-up, mental process, way of thinking, or what makes someone tick. I wouldn’t make a big deal of this, except there is something incredibly important here. It’s so important that it’s spoken about all throughout Paul’s writings and in Peter’s, and in James’ – get the point? How we think is important. Philippians tells us that we should have the same way of thinking as Jesus did. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans tells us; “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Chapter 8:5-8) Get the point? ‘Don’t live the way this world lives. Let you way of thinking be completely changed.” (12:2 NIV) COMPLETELY changed. How we think – not just what we think, but even how we think, how we reason, how we work out our problems or deal with suffering is important for the Child of God.
Many years ago I invited a Jewish Rabbi to join our Disciple group for one evening so that he could talk to us about the Law of Moses from his prospective. As he talked he shared with us that Jews were not concerned with the inner thoughts, they were only concerned with the outward actions. And he talked about how that was different for the Christian. He was correct. Christians are held accountable for how we think, as well as how we outwardly act. Jesus made this turn in his teaching in Matthew 5. You remember – all the statements He makes were he begins – You have heard (the Law), but I say….what you think also counts. The Lord wants us to be so connected with Him that our mind is renewed, it’s transformed, converted, if you will, to the point that we share the same mindset as Jesus Christ, who in everything put the will of God above His own will or desires so that His outward actions and inner thinking were always in line with the Father’s will and wisdom. That means if Jesus were to drive a car down Wilmington Pike, not only would He obey the traffic laws (the outward actions), He wouldn’t experience road rage either (the mindset of his thinking).
Of course, and you won’t be surprised that I say this, that means we need to get into the scriptures. How can one know how to think like Christ without reading His story, studying His life and letting the word of God sink deep. Together let’s commit to this renewing of the mind so that we can glorify the only true God.