But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16b
For years, I prayed that this scripture would be true in me. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to seek it as a far-off, seemingly unattainable thing. It seemed so contrary to my nature that I found it difficult to believe that the indwelling Holy Spirit would allow me this. To have the mind of Christ? How could it be, that someone as selfish and proud and self-reliant as I am could have the mind of Christ?
At other times, and at the same time, I have prayed to be found worthy of suffering for Christ. As an area representative for The Voice of the Martyrs, I saw persecuted Christians as possessing a strength I’d never have, and so for awhile, I put them on a pedestal. Never having being tried in my faith in the same way, I wondered if I could survive the brutalities that they do, and not deny Christ. I knew that there were other ways in which we are called to suffer for Christ, but for me this seemed the pinnacle: being willing to lay down your life for Christ.
Today, I realized that I possess the mind of Christ, and it frightened me. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with a major mental illness a few months ago. Despite the severity of her illness, she has maintained the sense of right and wrong instilled in her through her upbringing and church, and I know that she has willingly made choices which have almost devastated her family. She has put herself at great risk physically and emotionally, and time after time has rejected the love of her family and the calling of God on her life to pursue dangerous and immoral things. And yet, no matter what she’s done and who she’s hurt, I love her deeply. I can’t go in the room she abandoned because the teddy bear that she was given before she was born still lies on her unmade bed. All her pictures are still on the wall and my heart breaks every time I think of some consequence that has befallen her, or some joy that she brought. I’m torn between throwing everything away that reminds me of her, and making it some type of shrine.
As I told my husband tonight that I wished I could harden my heart, I realized the problem. I have the mind of Christ. The mind that allows us as parents to demonstrate “tough love” while wishing that we could hold our children forever, no matter what they’ve done. I have the mind that says, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” It is the mind that says “my mercies are new every morning,” the mind that wept over Jerusalem, and which sadly generated the question to His disciples, “will you also go away?” I have the mind that would engrave her in the palm of my hand, and shield her from every harmful thing. It is the mind of the prodigal father, who didn’t wait stubbornly for his wayward child to enter the house, but ran to meet Him. It is also the mind that makes the notion of “tender mercies” comprehensible to a woman who has wondered where God is, why He’s allowed this, and whose concept of God has been shaken and reborn. The mind of Christ is the mind that bears all things, believes all things, hopes for all things. It doesn’t hold grudges, and doesn’t seek its own.
So what does this have to do with suffering? I believe that only through suffering is the mind of Christ fully realized in our lives. It is when we realize that we are all at battle with His enemy, and that we align ourselves with His suffering, and His right to prescribe and allow suffering in our lives, that the intimacy necessary to fully obtain His mind bears fruit. We must remember that His suffering went far beyond the physical attack on His body. It was evidenced in His rejection, in His affiliation with and representation of sinners, His desire to call an unwilling and selfish generation to Himself and to eternal life. And how likely was any of it? He knew how many could have accepted Him and didn’t, knew their eternal consequence, and because of that, He was a man of sorrows. His mind was acquainted with grief.
The mind of Christ. It’s not a thing to be taken lightly, not some abstract concept to be mulled over. It is the promise of God, and while it holds great hope, it brings a level of responsibility and accountability that scares me to death. And it is not of me. I didn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, and I’m not bragging about it. It is the promise of God living in man, and when we realize that these feelings of mercy, of crying over someone’s mistakes, of being willing to give up anything we could ever have to see someone happy and secure in Christ, we must realize, most astoundingly, that it is the way Christ feels about us.
What fabulous food for thought, Kathy. The ball is in our court and we can run with the truth you've reminded us of here OR we can continue to defile the gift God gave us (the Mind of Christ) and grumble and complain about our lives. Our faith is what heals us and if we would "know the truth" recognizing the power existing in the Mind of Christ, we would be set free. Praise God!!