Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Mind of Christ

My daily Bible reading has been a bit sketchy of late between travel, caring for parents, short nights, one thing and another. This morning, as I considered diving in to "to-do's" before taking time (because I'm already behind-!), I was reminded that I will not have the mind of Christ apart from time with Christ (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).

I cannot begin to fathom what He would do, how He would do it, and why He would do it until I immerse myself in His Word and character. Until I come alongside Him and put my mind where His mind is, my heart where His heart is, I cannot put my hands where His hands are.

That is abiding.... Not picking up the Word of God to check one more thing off the list, but to enter into the mind and heart of God. To realign this sinful, lazy, self-exalting, twisted self with the perfect, all-loving, all-knowing, all-kind, all-powerful Creator of the universe. In and of myself, there is no good thing. I will not seek Him. I will not understand. I am not righteous. Or good. Peaceful. Or profitable. (Romans 3)

In all this, in each word, each moment, each decision, each interaction, I must bring myself in line with the person and character of God--and that does not happen until I come to Him, ready to learn, hungry for His righteousness, disgusted with my pride, longing to be filled, changed and used. I need to get into Him, to think like He thinks, to climb into His ways, to empathize with God just as much as I need Him to come into me, to enter my heart and mind. I must open myself, question myself, be vulnerable, honest, and frank about our differences before I see the need to change.

Today--each day--I must interact with and recognize that the Bible is not me. It is not who I am, but who God is making me. Agreeing in the moment is not the same as adopting God's truth as my truth; living it out in the moments of life. It must enter and become part of me--like the bread and the cup... Taken with reverence and eagerness, becoming part of my physical composition; entering my bloodstream, making its way into my molecular biology. Essential to life. In that way, I live on as Christ's body... Christ in me, the hope of glory.... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He remains in and through His people as they do His will and walk in His ways.

As His beloved child, why would I forfeit precious time with God in His Word? It's the best part of the day.

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.  But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:21-27)

 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:28-71)