By William Mc Nicol
SESSION FOUR: THINKING AS GOD THINKS
Read together: 1 Cor. 2:9-10, 16; 1 John 2:20; Col. 3:15.
A. WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.
To become Christlike we must think like Christ for as a man “thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 27:7, NASV). How, then, can we think like God? How can a finite mind tape into the infinite wisdom of God? The very concept seems inconceivable! Yet God tells us: “We HAVE the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16). This fact means that we CAN think God’s thoughts. We can react and speak as He would and be a party to the deep mysteries of God.
(i) OLD COVENANT THINKING V NEW COVENANT THINKING.
Under the Old Covenant, people came to know the mind of God by observing a written code – i.e. the Law. But it was merely external. Nothing from within them prompted or guided them into God’s way or gave them insight into the mind of God. This all changed with the coming of Christ and the establishing of the New Covenant between God and man. (Read together and ponder Jer. 31:31-33).
God’s law is no longer written on stone tablets or in a textbook merely to be learned – it is written in your mind and on your heart. It is an ever-present internal resource to teach and guide you in every situation of life.
(ii) THE INDWELLING SPIRIT.
At the moment of your salvation the Holy Spirit took up residence in your life. You were ‘born of the Spirit’ (John 3:5) and the ongoing work of the Spirit within you is what now marks you out as a Christian. (See Eph, 1:13).
Understanding the work of the Holy Spirit within you will help you to see that you do have the mind of Christ:-
· The Spirit knows the mind of God. (1 Cor. 2:10-12).
· The Spirit leads us into truth. (John 16:13; 1 Jn. 2:20).
(iii) THE INNER WITNESS.
The directive work of the Holy Spirit is often described as the ‘inner witness’ or ‘inner prompting’.
Probably the best way to describe this inner feeling is as a peace or dispeace about any specific issue. (Read Col. 3:15).
Paul is describing the work of the Spirit within us. When an issue arises about which we are uncertain and a battle rages in our mind, we should ask ourselves:
‘If I do this, will I still feel God’s peace filling my heart?’
If so, do it; If not, don’t!
(iv) THE SAFETY FACTOR.
Whether the Spirit prompts you positively or negatively, you can expect His direction to be confirmed by the Bible, because God’s Word is “the word of truth” (See Eph. 1:13;
and Col. 1:5). Thus the SPIRIT and the WORD together are inseparable and constitute God’s safety factor for us.
When we hear God’s Word, the Spirit confirms it with His peace. When the Spirit prompts us to act, the Word of God will confirm it.
(v) THE CONSCIENCE.
In conjunction with the peace of God that rules in our hearts and guides us into God’s ways, the Spirit also uses our conscience. This is the inner witness to our conduct which proceeds out of our knowledge of what is right or wrong. A common phrase that people use to describe their conscience is: ‘My warning bells rang/ It is God’s Spirit in you that rings them!
To keep you walking in God’s truth, the Spirit confirms that an action is wrong by giving you pangs of conscience. Equally, as right decisions are made, you have a good or clear conscience – an inner knowledge that you are doing right. (See Rom 9:l; 2 Cor. 1:12).
Thus, through the operation of the inner prompting of the Spirit, your conscience and God’s Word, you will think God’s thoughts. You will know His mind on all matters and think, speak and act as He would, for you have “the mind of Christ.”
B. KNOW HIM TO THINK LIKE HIM.
“I want to KNOW Christ and the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10).
The more you get to know God the more you will understand why His Spirit leads you as He does. A growing knowledge of His nature and character is vital as a foundation to understanding His ways and thus His thoughts. Sometimes our natural reasoning seems good – but the mind of Christ in us tells us otherwise! Knowing the nature of your God will help you to see things through His eyes.
God is righteous. He always thinks and speaks what is right and just. No error or untruth is found in Him; He is without sin and abhors it. In all His dealings with us He is therefore totally righteous. As He looks into the affairs of this world and our individual lives, He sees no grey areas. In God’s mind there are no fences to sit on – we are either on one side or the other!
This should be reflected in the way we think, because we have the mind of Christ. Since we think God’s thoughts, our lives will be very distinct from the lives of those who are unrighteous:-
“You will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
What a privilege it is to be able to think as God thinks! Determine to make time to meditate on God’s nature and character. Then let it fill your mind and invade your whole being, because the way you think is the way you’ll become.
1. How do we distinguish between the mind of Christ in us and our own, sometimes wrong, thought patterns?
2. How important is it that the Bible agrees with what we feel in our spirits God is prompting us to do?
3. Share individually how you have learned to hear and obey the inner prompting of the
4. Discuss the statement: “We must know Him to think like Him and be like Him.”
1. Meditate on the significance of the truth that you have ‘the mind of Christ.’
(2 Cor. 2:16).
2. Make a list of as many aspects of God’s nature as you can think of (e.g. righteous, all powerful, hates sin, cannot lie).
Select one or two and, with the help of a concordance and, perhaps, a Christian friend, study these particular aspects of the nature of God.
3. Identify any aspects of your life which the Holy Spirit is asking you to deal with or change. Respond to His promptings and walk with a clear conscience.