Summary: Christians don’t realize the power of the mind to think like Jesus. Instead, we use it to think worldly thoughts, entertain temptations, and fall short of God’s plan for the Christian mind. Join me in thinking like Jesus in this post.
In my last two posts, I talked about how to renew your mind in Christ. In this post, I consider the possibilities of how to think like Jesus and the effect it has on your world.
Have you ever met an autistic child that excels in one or two disciplines, some the world has never even imagined could do what they do? How about a person who has such a well ordered household? These are some of the attributes of the Christian mind as it becomes more mature.
Even at the age of 12, Jesus was teaching the teachers of Israel. He was the most complete Person we have ever seen. So, what does His mind look like? We gather hints of Jesus’s mind throughout the Gospels. The Bible presents a good picture of what it means to have the mind of Christ.
When Jesus explained Scripture, He took you far beyond what you could think it meant. He’s still doing that today through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit opens our minds to the Scripture we read, illuminates (explains), and applies it to us.
I want to take this post and talk about what it means to think like Jesus. How can we have the mind of Christ in every matter we deal with? If I miss something you think should be here, let me know. Some of the material I will come over in other places. Let’s get started.
Thinking God’s Thoughts after Him
Johannes Kepler was the first to coin the phrase, “Thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” He was a German astronomer in the 16th-17th centuries, responsible for writing planetary movement laws that aid in other astronomers and mathematicians. Although a scientist, he remained within the bounds of Christian thought and faith.
While he was impressed with God’s creation and understood he was worshiping God by learning about His handiwork, many scientists are not that way today. I love his quote about thinking God’s thoughts after Him. That’s exactly what we intend to do as disciples of Jesus.
Paul said we should think on the good things, listing nine of them readily available to anyone who wants to focus their minds on the things of God (Philippians 4:8). As we consider how to think like Jesus, we need to start with thinking about what kinds of thoughts God has that we can meditate on and think about. That’s the beginning.
As Solomon would say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7), if we use our minds to glorify God and to worship Him, we are headed in the right direction. So many Christians do not use their God-given minds to glorify Him by thinking hard about God and the things of God.
God did not create faith to be blind. He does not want us to mentally ascend to doctrinal statements. He wants us to explore His greatness, and we must use our minds to do that. Do not be afraid to contemplate God, creation, and the wonderful things He has in store for you.
The Spirit of Scripture
Jesus often made people think about Scripture. Some of my favorite parts of Jesus’s teaching are when He talks about how God is the God of the living, citing that Abraham was dead in human terms, but alive and with God (Mark 12:26-27).
Another place we see Jesus opening minds to Scripture is after His resurrection when he does this for the disciples (Luke 24:46), and then for two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32). When we read and study the Bible, we are worshiping God with our minds. It is a healthy practice, and one that Jesus taught.
God is not afraid of us thinking deeply. Actually, it is much worse if we don’t. The Bible is not devoid of learning or understanding. In fact, part of the Shema calls Israelites to teach the precepts and laws of God to their children (Deuteronomy 6:7).
David spends Psalm 119, the longest Psalm and chapter of the Bible, to extol the things he learns when he meditates on the Word of God. Rather than being afraid to delve deep into the Bible, it should be part of your spiritual disciplines as a disciple of Jesus. Let us do what Jesus did and learn as much as we can about God’s Word.
It is not just about studying the Bible. Esoteric knowledge of the Bible is useless unless we properly interpret it, and then apply it to our lives. The Bible is a practical Book. James said that we must not just hear the Word of God, but to do what it says (James 1: 22-25).
Understanding Spiritual Wisdom
Paul tells us that as believers in Jesus, we have a mind and heart to understand the spiritual wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). The world does not have this ability. It is one of the things Jesus opens in our minds when He makes us new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
To understand spiritual things is to open our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to speak to us. In fact, throughout His ministry, and when Jesus speaks to the seven churches of Revelation, he repeatedly tells us to “hear what the Spirit says to the church.”
We have spiritual ears, eyes, and a spiritual mind. We need to use these spiritual senses to understand what God is doing. We should be the first to know His plans. But we must seek Him, asking Him what He wants to do in our lives, in the Church, and in the world. We cannot do that if we do not use our new minds.
In John 3, Nicodemus, one of the premier teachers of Israel, meets Jesus in the middle of the night because he is afraid to talk to Him in daylight. Jesus had a surprise asks him at one point, “You are the teacher of Israel, and you do not understand these things” (John 3:10)? We must understand spiritual matters. You cannot live on spiritual milk without spiritual soul food and grow in your faith and spiritual wisdom (Hebrews 5:12-14).
It is a Being able to understand the things of the Spirit is what Paul calls having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). In making us new creatures, Jesus makes our minds able to understand the things of the Spirit. What makes sense to us doesn’t make sense to the world because they lack a renewed mind.
Whether you find thinking easy or hard, you can develop this discipline. The more you use your mind in critical thinking and other thinking skills, the easier it will get. It’s like using any other muscle of your body. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. It is time to develop a fortified mind.
Seeing People Like Jesus
Another way we can have the mind of Christ and think like Jesus is to see people as Jesus sees them. This is hard for us because we don’t see the heavenly potential in people. We may judge people too harshly.
It’s hard to love unlovable people. They make it even harder when they persecute us and hate us. But they hated Jesus first. He sees the potential in every person, willing to go to the Cross to offer salvation to everyone. We need to take it easy on people and see the potential Jesus sees in them.
If we can’t do this, we will not be able to witness effectively about Jesus. If God loves people, we must love them too. This also may be a spiritual discipline. We need to see people with eyes of faith in Jesus’s offer of salvation and the ability to change them, and then help them see Jesus with eyes of faith.
Adopting Christian Perspectives
Later in this series on being Conformed to Christ, I will be diving deeper into Christian perspectives. We look at the world in a completely different way than we did before we knew Christ. We have eternal, kingdom perspectives.
You set your mind to know God, to learn about the things of God, to hear the Spirit, and to study God’s Word. None of these things makes any sense to world the person who doesn’t know Jesus. They think it’s a waste of our time.
On the contrary, it is a waste of our time here on earth do not witness to people, seek to walk in the presence of God daily, pray and read the Bible, and live our lives according to heavenly and Kingdom principles. The world will never understand these things.
Jesus changes our perspective on many things, and it changes the way we live our lives. We have different priorities than the world. Jesus taught us a better way to live. I’m excited to get into these Christian perspectives Jesus is teaching us to live by. That teaching is coming soon.
One great way to use our minds the way Jesus does is to have Kingdom thinking. We want to glorify God with our minds, and with everything we learn. We seek to live to glorify God and to make Him pleased.
Kingdom thinking encompasses godly wisdom, as I will discuss in the post on godly wisdom. Needless to say, godly wisdom is not some paradoxical saying we think about but do nothing about. Godly wisdom and Kingdom thinking are practical.
Some people say Christians are “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” That is not Kingdom thinking. I don’t know what that is. The more we think about God’s kingdom, and heaven, the more practical we become.
How are you furthering God’s kingdom? Are you using Kingdom thinking, and all the types of godly thinking I have discussed in this post? The more you think about eternity and heaven, the more you want to win the lost to Christ, live as an example of Jesus to the world around you, and display God’s glory in all you think, say, and do. Thinking like Jesus turns into practical ways to honor Him until you go home to be with Him.
In what ways do you think like Jesus? Maybe you didn’t realize how powerful your mind is in Christ. Instead of using your mind to think about temptation and your life before Christ you should use it to think ungodly things and allow the Spirit to renew your mind daily. What are some action steps you can move forward with in your mind?
We have defined what it is to think like Jesus. Next, I will address Christian creativity and the renewed imagination.