The Mind of Christ

Do you sometimes feel confused?  Does the heat of the summer stop you from thinking clearly?  Have you reached an age, as I have, where you lose things you had in your hand only minutes earlier? These are just mildly irritating consequences of being human and getting older. Our brain has trouble operating continuously at its peak in certain circumstances. But these things don’t have a monumental impact on our eternal destiny.  However, the way our brain processes information, reaches logical conclusions and arrives at philosophical stand-points, does.

The Bible tells us that the way natural man thinks is at odds with the way God thinks: 


“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)  

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Corinthians 3:20)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)


These verses make it clear that the standard way of rational human thinking is not His way. What makes sense to Him, doesn’t necessarily make sense to us, and vice versa.  But when you become a Christian, something changes in the way you process information. Somehow the spiritual awakening brings an awareness, not only of His presence, but an appreciation of the way He thinks.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 
(1 Corinthians 2:16)


In further support for the argument that God and I think differently, in many ways the Gospel message itself is at odds with the reasoning mind:

“Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). 
“As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed.”(Romans 9:33)


It is a stumbling block to the Jews, because they believe in the same God, but reject Jesus as the promised Messiah.  It is foolishness to the Gentiles because they reject the notion that they may not be good enough to enter eternity. The very suggestion that they may need salvation is regarded as an insult. No, the message is not one that appeals to the unbelieving public. The Gospel says God became man and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin! He then came back to life and now asks us to make a similar sacrifice!  It sounds outrageous. In fact, to many it is offensive, and to most it sounds stupid.

There is ample scriptural support to suggest that we should develop a way of thinking similar to Jesus, as we grow during our Christian journey:


“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)  

“… stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:27)


So what is it like to think like Him?

Probably the best way to find the answer is to examine His own instructions, statements and behaviour while He was here in the flesh. And the answers are so radically different from the way we think, all the foregoing scriptures start to make sense.


Jesus started off His life in a home where He was constantly exposed to the Jewish scriptures (basically our Old Testament). Already by age 12 or so (Luke 2), He had realised His calling and identified with the prophecies relating to His coming. Upon turning thirty, He knew his time had arrived, but that He would not be ready for the task until He had been tested in every way possible. And overcome those temptations. He spent forty days in the desert being tempted by Satan but passed the test with flying colours. Even after forty days without food, tempted with bread, followed by an offer by the Devil to achieve what He had come to do in a much easier way, He couldn’t be swayed. Then He burst onto the scene of an occupied people with a message that they didn’t really want to hear.

Many of the words He spoke would have gone in one ear and out the other. Some of the worst things we can imagine, He referred to as ‘blessings’ in His ‘sermon on the mount’ (Matthew 5-7). Most of His statements are the antithesis of normal human response:



  1. In a world full of violence, He said the gentle would inherit the earth. (5:5)
  2. In a world where most were oppressed, He said the persecuted would become owners of the kingdom of heaven.  (5:10)
  3. He said just our thoughts made us guilty of breaking God’s law. (5:20-30)
  4. He was all in favour of calling a spade a spade. Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ no. (5:37)
  5. He told us not to resist evil, but turn the other cheek instead. (5:39)
  6. If someone (as was often the case with the Romans) took our shirt, He said to give him our coat as well.  Or if forced to go one mile, (carrying loads for the Romans), to go for two. (5:40-41)
  7. He instructed us to love our enemies! (5:44)
  8. He abhorred hypocrisy, especially the religious pretences of the spiritual leaders of the time (Pharisees) (6:2,16)
  9. He told us to give in secret, not publicly so as to gain public approval. (6:3)
  10. He told us to pray in secret, and to keep the words to a minimum. (6:7)
  11. He warned us that if we don’t forgive others, neither will God forgive us. (6:15)
  12. He warned us not to accumulate earthly treasures, but rather to concentrate on heavenly ones. (6:20)
  13. He said no one can serve two masters, and God and money are mutually exclusive masters. (6:24)
  14. He warned us our judgment of others incurs an equal judgment standard on our own lives. (7:2)
  15. He warned us the true path to Life is narrow, and few are the privileged that find it. (7:14)
  16. He predicted that many, who think they are on the right path, are not. (7:22, 25:31-46)

He had no real material possessions that we know of. From what we do know, for three years He walked all over the Holy Land, from town to dusty town, to announce His arrival.  He certainly didn’t have a bed to sleep in at night. (8:20 also Luke 8:58)  And He made this fact known, not because He felt badly done by. No, He was warning a potential follower what would be required of him if he were to become a genuine disciple.

  • He had no tolerance for hypocrisy and no time for religiosity. (Matthew 9:12-13, 15:3-11, 16:1-4, 23:1-39)
  • He was prepared to call hypocrites names and publicly insult them. (23:33)
  • He instructed His disciples to go out to preach without so much as a change of clothing. (10:10)
  • He believed in the supernatural provision of the Holy Spirit, even before Pentecost. (10:8,20)
  • He encouraged us not to fear physical hardship or death. (10:26,31)
  • He expected total personal sacrifice from His followers. (10:37-38, 19:21)
  • Despite His outrageous claims and acts, He believed Himself to be gentle and humble, and thought what He was asking of us to be relatively easy (which it is if you truly believe!) (10:29-30)
  • Whilst His message was about love, giving, self-sacrifice and humility, He realized such a message would generate much conflict, even within families, and that no compromise could be made to tone the message down. (10:34-37)
  • He believed much of our bad behaviour and illness to be the result of demon possession. (12:43-45, 17:18) but obviously not hypocritical attitudes. I can think of no instance where Jesus cast out a demon of hypocrisy.
  • At the same time, He allocated much of the blame for bad behaviour to the state of the heart. (15:16-20) This is all the more reason to believe that the ‘heart of man’ is analogous with his spirit. And that spirit is fallen.
  • He had complete faith in the Father’s miraculous provision. (15:32-38)
  • He believed in the soul as the immaterial part of man that needed to be saved. (16:23-28)
  • He believed the literal creation account in Genesis 1. (19:4-6, Luke 16:31)
  • He subscribed to the principle of servant-leadership. (20:26-28) He who would be first in the Kingdom should be the servant of all. (23:11-12)
  • He was a quick thinker and fully comprehended His own mission. (22:18-46)
  • He knew that the future Church would operate in a fascinating new way – the human go-between (priest) making representations for the covering of man’s sins would be abolished. Only Jesus Himself would stand between the Father and us. All human leadership was prone to corruption.  So He instructed us to call no one leader or teacher, because He would personally oversee our learning and direction. (23:1-10)
  • He had a prophetic gift. (24:4-44)
  • He recognised the Father had given Him authority over heaven and earth. (28:18-20)


In Mark it becomes abundantly clear that this authority is His, and that He has no doubt that it is.  The scribes thought it blasphemy when they overheard Him tell a paralysed man that his sins were forgiven. But Jesus backed up His words with a miracle of healing. (Mark 2:8-11, 2:28)

  • He was content for His message to be understood only by those chosen to understand. (Mark 4:11-12)
  • He had power over the spiritual realm. (5:1-16)
  • He had power over death. (5:22-43, also Luke 7:2-16, and John 11:14-15)
  • He expected no less from His followers than He was prepared to give Himself. (8:34-38)
  • He declared that the granting of our prayers hinged on two things: 1) belief on our part(Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews  12:2) and so, if we truly believe, our prayer will automatically be in accordance with His will)        and 2) forgiveness. (11:22-26)
  • He acknowledged Moses as the author of Genesis. (12:26)
  • Besides being a giver, He was willing to receive. (14:3-9)
  • He fully expected miraculous signs to accompany future believers. (16:15-18) These signs were to include healing of the sick.


In Luke, some of the first of Jesus’ recorded words show the types of healings to be expected: the blind would see. (4:18) In chapter 7, John the Baptist’s disciples actually ask, on John’s behalf, for confirmation that Jesus really is the Messiah. Jesus quotes scripture to them: the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead rise and the Gospel is being preached to the poor. The types of healings appear to be (deliberately?) ones that are very hard to fake. (There are no prophecies I know of relating to the healing of sore backs or heads or toes.) For what it’s worth, it is also interesting that there is no mention of preaching the gospel to the wealthy, the poor being specifically set aside as the target group.

  • He was not recognized as the Messiah by those who saw Him grow up. (Luke 4:16-30)
  • He had no compunction about breaking legalistic traditions. (6:1-10)
  • He had no time for people not interested in the Gospel message.(9:3-5, 10:2-16)
  • He was not interested in copyrights. (9:50)  He knew there would be untold numbers of imitators.
  • He believed God looks on the heart rather than looking for legalistic compliance. (10:30-37)
  • And He knew God is jealous only of things that surpass His importance in our heart. (12:34) (Because those things are gods before Him!)
  • He acknowledged that bad things happen to good people. But He stressed that all of us, no matter how ‘good’ by worldly standards, need saving. (13:2-5)
  • He stressed again the level of commitment He was expecting from His followers – everything you’ve got, including your life! (14:26-35)
  • He believed in using money wisely (16:1-13), as a means to an end, never allowing it to capture your soul, as it had in the case of the rich man. (18:18-25)
  • He was capable of showing righteous anger. (19:45-46)
  • He recognized the need for one final blood sacrifice for the remission of all the world’s sins. (22:19-20)
  • He approached the cross, knowing He was in for much worse suffering than others being crucified, yet, whilst the knowledge of what He was in for was almost unbearable, He went ahead regardless. (22:39-45)
  • He forgave even those who, in their ignorance, put Him to death. (23:34)


In John, we get to see an even more intimate picture of Jesus. He constantly referred to the Father and deferred to His will.

“Neither do I pray for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; That they may all be one; as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that You have sent me. And the glory which You gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and You in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent me, and have loved them, as You have loved me.

Father, I will that they also, whom You have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which You have given me: for You loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known You: but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent me.  And I have declared unto them Your name, and will declare it: that the love with which You have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” 
(John 17:20-26)


  • He explained the need to be born again of the Spirit. (John 3:5-8) His insight is mind-blowing and apparently totally foreign to the Jewish way of thinking.
  • He explained prophetic symbolism from the Old Testament as if He had a master’s degree in the subject. (3:14-15)  Yet apparently it was known He had no education. (7:15)
  • He expounded the depths of God’s love in precise strokes. (3:16-21)
  • He showed His gift of spiritual discernment to the woman at the well. (4:7-24)
  • He declared Himself a source of living water.  (4:10-14)
  • He revealed His divine mission to her. (4:26)
  • He only ever acted according to the Father’s will. (5:19-47, 8:28-29)
  • He revealed Himself as the bread of life, yet not in a boastful way, simply as fact. (6:32-58)
  • He proclaimed all His teaching to be sourced in the Father. (7:16-18)
  • He was prepared to confront His adversaries under the threat of death. (7:19-30)
  • He embarrassed the accusers of a woman about to be stoned. (8:3-11)
  • In a particularly nasty confrontation with the Jews, He called the Pharisees children of Satan, father of lies. (8:44)
  • He had no trouble declaring Himself to be one with God. (10:30, 36-38, 14:10)
  • However, He recognized that His task was to save, the Father’s to judge. (12:44-50)
  • He believed with all His heart that He was right, and was prepared to die for His convictions. (13:31-33)
  • He issued a new commandment to His followers, to keep after His departure. (13:34-35)  And left instructions for our mission. (Mark 16:15-18)
  • He was also very clear about the characteristics of the eternal life partner (bride) He was looking for.  I like to think of John 17 as Jesus’ wish-list, the qualities of the bride for whom He was laying down His life. The essence of His prayer focuses on an unsurpassed unity and intimacy, based on agape love.


So how would we summarise someone who thinks these things? He certainly had aone-track mind: He had no doubt about what was required of Him, He had nofear of speaking out; and He gave His cause everything He had, forsaking any other possible ambitions He might have contemplated. I think I am describing afanatic here. An extremist, no doubt.  Either He was suffering from severe delusions of grandeur, or He genuinely was who He said He was. The fulfillment of the many prophecies relating to His coming, and the miracles He performed wherever He went, proved the latter.

In an age of western moderation, tolerance, democracy and compromise, the Jesus who came two thousand years ago would probably get a worse reception today than He did then.  Today the world promotes the ‘broad way’ and half-hearted beliefs.  Under the pretext that open-mindedness is a good thing (which it is), it encourages us to let go of our full-on convictions, our belief that the Bible is God’s word to us, cover to cover, immutable black and white Truth, not subject to compromise. It tries to convince us that we can have all the benefits of our faith, without missing out on the ‘good’ things the world has to offer, by compromising His Word.

Reading Jesus’ own words, it is overtly clear that Jesus wanted us to be just as sold out for the Gospel as He was. I can no longer ignore the fact that He expected more from me. And after His example, I cannot imagine any longer that spending 95% of my life looking after my own affairs, earning a crust, having a good time, and securing my own comfortable ‘retirement’, is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


I cannot stick my head in the sand and pretend that things are any different from what they are. Jesus was a full-on fanatic for the eternal purpose of God. Jesus was God. We cannot afford to continue to pussy-foot around and live a half-hearted Christian life. Jesus expected more from us. Do you really believe in the Gospel message?  Are you a genuine born-again Christian? Or are you still wondering whether you are prepared to give this thing everything you’ve got?

The Gospel calls for followers who unashamedly declare their devotion to the cause and are prepared to lay down their lives for it. It does not call for suicide missions.  But it calls for an utter dedication to the spread of the Gospel and sharing of God’s love. And if that should cost us our earthly lives, then that is only a few short years in the infinite span of eternity. And He didn’t expect us to do this in our own strength. He promised us a source of overcoming power:


“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

The Holy Spirit was given to unite, comfort, encourage and empower us to overcome. He is to be the source of a new mind, a sound mind, the mind of Christ.  He is there to cause us to be bound together with cords that cannot be broken. He is our direct telephone line to Jesus Himself, the means for Jesus to teach us everything He knows. And to gradually blend His mind with ours, until we think like Him, act like Him, and unite into a bride worthy of Him, one that meets all of His expectations.  And makes Him beg the Father to bring the age to a close, so He can return and collect that bride in the culmination of all history.