Let this Mind Be in You

The Mind of Christ

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5, NRS)

What is the nature of the mind of Christ? I think we can safely say that it is a mind that is totally open and obedient to the voice of the Father. There is an old saying, “Some people’s minds are like concrete… all mixed up and permanently set.” Thank God that He knows how to use a jackhammer on those of us that have become fixed in our confusion about Himself and His kingdom. The key to our continuing growth in Christ is found in this verse:

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. (Matt 7:7-8, AMP)

The biggest obstacle to finding God’s truth and His leading in our lives is pride. Many of us become satisfied with our knowledge of God, His kingdom and the Bible (becoming proud of the knowledge we have) and forget the verse that says that the Word of God is LIVING (Hebrews 4:12). It is living and fluid, not static and dead. The Amplified Version rightly translates the above passage by saying, “KEEP ON asking… KEEP ON seeking… and KEEP ON knocking!” God’s word keeps getting deeper and sheds ever greater light if we keep seeking Him and listening to the Spirit!

Austin-Sparks wrote,

One of the most common causes of spiritual stultification is fixedness. It is peculiarly common in the realm where Christian truth has been reduced to a fixed form, order, system, and creed. The doctrines of Christianity are such and such; so many. The accepted and established ideas of Christian service and methods are so-and-so. Peter had his fixed position as to Jews and Gentiles, and, because of it, came perilously near missing the larger purpose of God, and presented the Lord with a real battleground in his Christianity. It has so very largely resolved itself into a finality of position, which results in a closed door to fuller revelation as to what God means by His Word. The fact is, that God only gives us enough light to get us to take the next step, but when that step has been taken, we are in the way of being shown that much more was meant by the Lord than He showed then. The first expectations of many servants of the Lord in the Bible, expectations resultant from something said by the Lord to them, were later seen to have been not all that He really meant, but there was something more, and perhaps other than they thought. [1]

When I was younger in the Lord, He gave me many meaningful dreams. In one of them I found myself standing on a darkened stage in a theater. I was afraid to move until a spot light lit up a small round circle on the floor in front of me. Instinctively I stepped into that spot and then the light went out. As I waited another spot lit up in front of me once again and I stepped into it. This process of light and darkness went on as long as I stepped into the next spot that was lit up before me. After being led all over that stage the light shown on a flight of stairs at the back left corner of the platform and I stepped down to find that there was a door awaiting me that led out into a bright sunny day outside. Upon stepping out into daylight, the dream ended. So you see, these words by Sparks have much meaning to me, “The fact is, that God only gives us enough light to get us to take the next step, but when that step has been taken, we are in the way of being shown that much more was meant by the Lord than He showed [back] then.”

Sparks continues:

Can anyone really dispute that full light very often means a shedding of things and ideas that we thought were of God? Is it not true that, as we go on, we find that certain leadings of the Lord were tactical, intended to get us to a certain place where alone we could learn of a greater necessity? There is very much of this kind of thing in relation to both doctrine, practice, and service—its nature and ways, and while Divine principles will never change to all eternity, the clothing of those principles may vary and change with both dispensations and generations and stages of our own lives.

In all this—while Truth remains unalterable—the only way to grow is to be adjustable and not static and fixed. Do your religious traditions bind you in such a way that you are not free to move with God? If He sees this to be so, He may not give you the light necessary to [for] enlargement. But if He sees that, although you may be in a comparatively false position, your heart is really set on His fulness at any cost, He may present you with light which will test your adjustableness severely. See the case of the disciples of John the Baptist transferring their discipleship to Christ. See the case of Peter and what happened in the home of Cornelius. See also the case of Apollos in Acts 18:24–28; as also the disciples mentioned earlier in that chapter. [1]

We make the commandments of the Spirit of no effect as He tries to lead us into new light by hanging on to our current understanding of an old familiar Bible verse or the rigid dogma of a church statute (see Matt. 15:3-6). Like Peter, we can be so blind that we tell God, “Not so!” when He commands us to kill and eat, while we blindly call Him “Lord” (See Acts 10:9-16). We should always be aware that God can sanctify what we once saw as unclean, especially when it comes to pouring out His life changing grace on the lives of others we have judged as being terrible sinners.

After reading this article by Sparks, it was as if God wanted to drive this point about His expanding revelation.  I got a flash of new revelation from an old familiar passage, the very thing that Sparks was pointing out about being open to fresh life changing insight from the Lord. In Romans Paul wrote:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:1-2, ESV2011)

This term “living sacrifice” is what jumped into my mind with new meaning as I read the above quote from Sparks. The light of the Lord cleanses us of all darkness, but first we must allow the cross of Christ to kill that thing within that still clings to spiritual darkness (see John 3:19). This is a process. We wish we could die to that old Adam in us once and for all, but like Peter and the others named above in the TAS article, the dying we must go through is a continuing and progressive process as the Lord shines His light into us. In this process we literally are LIVING SACRIFICES! We must continually present ourselves to Him as He kills our adamic flesh (our strongholds) in stages and brings forth the Light of Jesus Christ within. This is true worship! David wrote:

”For you will not delight in [animal] sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering [our religious service to Him]. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 51:16-17, ESV2011)

We worship God as we make our lives a living sacrifice, letting Him put the knife to everything in us that resists His leading. This is done when we fall down before Him with a broken and contrite heart as He shows us what must go. Our old natures find it easy to be conformed to this world system that is lorded over by the prince of this world. The flesh (soulish-ness of man) is his breeding ground for rebellion against God. We must be transformed into God’s NEW creation and be given the mind of Christ if we are to prove that His will for us is good and acceptable, no matter what our old contrary natures try to convince us of. I thank God that we can be God’s living sacrifices, always coming into greater revelations of His riches in glory IN Christ Jesus.  We must die daily until we can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. (Proverbs 4:18, NRS)

[1] http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/001606.html

A special thanks to Susanne Schuberth who read my comment on her blog and encouraged me to seek God about making it into an article on AWV. She also found this article by T. Austin-Sparks and wrote about it on her blog at https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/is-spiritual-growth-a-miracle/

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16 comments on “Let this Mind Be in You

  1. Excellent, Michael! ⭐ Thank you very much for the link to my blog. I am glad you were encouraged to write an article of your own, my brother.

    I could sense the Holy Spirit’s voice in your writing. In particular, I love the explanation of the term “living sacrifice” which God whose Word is living made alive in your spirit too. Also, your dream about having been on a darkened stage where spotlights led to you different places without you knowing beforehand WHERE you should go and WHY you should be there reminded me of the Spirit wind’s unpredictable leading all day long… IF we let Him lead us, that is. We can always choose to remain stuck in our old ways; God does not mind, but watches us getting more and more frustrated with our old habits of thinking and behavior until we cry out to Him that we do not want to stay that way. He will also bring forth the desire to be fully freed from our old self and its misleading (worldly) wisdom, from relying on mere ‘soulish’ reason and from any of these traditional thought habits of our fallen nature.

    As for this quote by Chambers in the picture, I thought that, of course, all Christians have to do with the Spirit of God. He transforms our direction in life from the very first day we have to do with Him. However, there is a difference between knowing the Holy Spirit who at first only “dwells with” us, but later “will be in” us (Jn 14:17). The first state can even last a lifetime if one is not baptized with the Holy Spirit so that God Himself dwells IN the believer (God can be felt in our bodies then too). These ‘first state’ Christians only occasionally are drawn to God and are not yet inclined to listen to His voice regarding their everyday living. Instead, they often appear to be content with rules and tradition, with reading the Bible and rather learn from which that others experienced with God, others who live(d) in the second state where they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who prompts them to be led by Him 24/7. In contrast, if those in the second state continually ignore His nudging and urging, God won’t let them rest until they finally obey His living Word while those in the first state do not sense His prompting that strongly.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, you might say that their are Christians, then there are CHRISTIANS! That passage in John you referred to has just taken on scope for me. “He dwells with you and He shall be IN you.” This also explains why Joel ch. 2 says, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit ON ALL FLESH and your sons and our daughters shall prophesy…” The Spirit can be ON but not IN and we can still prophesy. It is one thing to prophesy and it is a whole other thing to hear His voice within demanding that the one speaking these words be changed by them and obey them before trying to apply them to everyone else. Way too much of what goes on in the name of the Holy Spirit is still external to those who walk in these gifts and they have yet to be transformed by the Spirit within, a transformation that demands a crucified life IN Christ.

      Thanks so much for your enlightening comment, dear sister! ⭐

      Liked by 2 people

  2. David Murry says:

    Wonderful teaching. Thank you , Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the blog. So much of the Scriptures, I read without getting the truth being given. Your writings are very helpful for my understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. amongtheforgotten says:

    Sorry if I may be repeating a comment said somewhere else on your site but I sense it applicable here-
    Years back at my last formal fellowship, the saints had decided to have another weekly outreach meeting and were going in twos door to door to ask people in the neighborhood to attend. Kind of like a nice way of saying, “hey come and have some free food while we speak to you about Jesus.”

    Now at the time I was being taught by Father not just about “man’s institutions,” but specifically about the names Christians use to describe and identify themselves. Now I enjoy speaking and sharing my faith with those outside so I was not opposed to going door to door. I was however opposed to going “in the name” of that particular fellowship of believers and spoke that to the other person I was to walk around with. We decided to simply share Jesus with others via this question to those we met- “What or whom do you place your hope in?”

    Now before heading out my friend and I prayed as such: Father, we only want to share Jesus with others. We are not here to expound any other man, any place of worship or any particular meeting of sorts. May we glorify you alone.

    Upon the 6 or 7 groups of twos returning to the meeting place, each described in detail the accounts of their sharing and my friend and I were the only group that experienced zero hostility in our sharing with people in the neighborhood. Every other group had difficulty in multiple forms and yet God spoke through us in many, many ways, often for 10-20 minutes at a time. It was one wide open door after another!

    Since we were the last group to share the other believers were quite perplexed. Why weren’t we have the same difficulty they were? Why had our efforts been more productive than theirs? Sadly, one of the elders came to the conclusion that it must have been our outgoing personalities that made the difference, maybe our inquisitive question that got others speaking or maybe our giftedness…… but certainly not “ongoing and spontaneous revelation from God!”

    The fact is as you all know here, that this is exactly what it was. Not new truth from God, not additions to the faith once delivered, but simply revelation as to the next step to take after obedience to the former step. The whole process started years prior, but had its aim in my heart in first “cutting off” that which actually blocks God’s intent (institutionalism by blinding others and keeping them bound) erasing the sectarian division of God’s people through names and using a simple question to prompt discussion and maybe even a little personality mixed in to bring forth exactly what God intended (convicted hearts, people longing for follow up, long serious conversations about eternal matters and sinners literally crying at their front doors- ALL because of a willingness to keep hearing the heart of God and seeing His guidance by thinking properly moment by moment. (by having Christ’s mind in view).

    In the end, I think their may have been one person who followed us back but we hardly cared about such a “success” as far more had been accomplished before the preaching ever began. These are the lessons we all need to learn, and once learned, cement a joy unspeakable upon the hearts of those who hear, not the plans and voices of men, but the very momentary handiwork of Him who walks with, speaks through and accomplishes more than any of our combined efforts ever could.

    Here’s to ongoing revelation via the mind of Christ…..and to the wilderness voices who played their part in my learning and embracing this vital truth for His sake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Michael, for sharing this story of simplicity and obeying His leading instead of speaking from a humanly prepared script. People really do hate the “one size fits all” approach of religion. Churches speak of Jesus as a “Personal Savior” then they set out to de-personalize Him with a “Four Spiritual Laws” tract with the churches name on the back or such like. Just reading about His encounters with the people He affected and we find that no two of them were alike. He met people where they were at and spoke in those terms to their hearts. Dead religion cannot do this, but the Spirit of Christ within us can. I had such an encounter while out fishing on the bank of a local lake the other day and it was really fun to see this black brother’s face light up as the truth of the Spirit was setting him free.

      Love you, my brother! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • amongtheforgotten says:

        So true Michael. It’s amazing to watch our Lord work through us in the simplest of ways when we refuse to have any agenda other than sharing Him with others. No more hard work or trying to convince others by many, many words or some new methodology. All useless and so unnecessary.

        I’m glad you get opportunities to mingle a little on the outside- I use my fishing outings as an opportunity as well and the majority of my fishing is done at night! No time this year yet as its landscaping in the Spring. Father did allow me to jackknife a trailer I was pulling twice in 5 days- looks like I’m finally getting some time off and emptying the bank account as well. Uhhh. You would think at 53 I would be slowing down a little…..nope, not much.

        I’ve been thinking regularly about the words “ever increasing” lately in both a positive and negative sense. Maybe I’ll write something up or maybe some bells will ring with you or some others. Anyway, thanks for the response. I’m hoping to be around a little more now that Spring is passing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Michael F., I normally would rather fish alone, but God has been talking to me about using it to meet others and pray that He gives me divine appointments like he did with this brother I mentioned above. As for slowing down, at 71 I finally am being forced to do so with some chronic back pains from old injuries when I was “young and invincible.” :-p

        Hmmm… the phrase “ever increasing.” I’ll pray about it, my brother.

        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  5. mare says:

    Thanks Michael. The true meaning of fellowship is in meditating on God’s word and sharing what He reveals to us. The insights God gave you on “living sacrifice” so spoke to me. I too am reading T. Austin Sparks, I love his writings and the insight God had given him. I also appreciated the BEING FAITHFUL TO OUR CALL. As Paul’s words addressing the church in Rome: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established——that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” I have been encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me and how God’s Living Word speaks to us.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Mare, it is good to hear what God gave me to ride has spoken to you. I find it is best to write a blog only when I’m hearing God’s voice to do so.
      I have found that fellowship, true fellowship, comes in different forms at different times. It is precious when He uses scriptures to speak to us directly.There is fellowship with the Spirit when He speaks to us either through the Scriptures or through events that happened in our daily lives. There is a fellowship of Christ’s sufferings which God allows us to experience. We also may experience fellowship with the Saints of God as he speaks through them whether they use Scriptures are not. We also may find fellowship when we bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

      I am glad that you have found Spark’s writings. They have been a real blessing to many of us.

      Blessings IN Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I took this blogs challenge of putting my living self on his operating table and the Lord removed a selfish part of me that has caused problems with my daughter for years. It wasn’t something I was expecting but our LIVING Lord did it because of my sacrifice during those days. It was hard but I knew that he knew what I needed. It is amazing how stubborn self can be and yet how satisfying the Lord’s work is. It reminds me of exercise. I never want to go but I am always glad I did. Sorry if this seems flippant, it does to me too, but it seem that way to me. Love you all.

    Liked by 2 people

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