Thinking with the mind of Christ

Published 6:04 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

By Larry P. Stover
Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door” was a popular saying and even a book title back in the early 1990s.  An explosion in the television industry during that decade continued a shift toward people reading less and listening more. It has been more evident than ever in our recent presidential election with continued allegations of “fake news” and broadcast bias on the part of networks.

As Christians, I believe we have an obligation to “think” with the mind of Christ.  Philippians 4:8 gives us this admonition, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

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As I continue to examine issues regarding our “Christian Character,” in the Bible, this passage of scripture stands in stark contrast to merely listening to what others want us to hear and understanding how God wants us to think with the help of the Holy Spirit.  A closer examination will hopefully enlighten us and challenge us in our daily thought processes. The very thought of thinking about things that are “true” brings us all to attention.  This challenges us at the heart of Christian ethics. We must ask ourselves, “Are my thoughts and spoken words correct and accurate?”

Thinking and speaking “noble” thoughts points us to a higher spiritual good. Noble thoughts are definitely above average and remind us all that our thoughts and actions should reflect the example we have in Jesus Christ.

Christian ethics are addressed again as we are challenged to think about things that are “right.”  Speaking the truth ought not to be a questionable attribute of our Christian character.

The message of Philippians gets more intense as we are admonished to think and speak about things that are “pure.” In the Book of Ephesians there is a description of the bride of Christ that the Lord will present to his father. It is described as being “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” The 21st century church is moving away from the holiness and godliness as depicted as the “Bride of Christ.” Only a revival among the believers will get her back on course.

Thoughts and words that are “lovely” carry on the list from Philippians. Normally, when we think of the word “lovely,” we focus on physical appearance. As Christians reflect Jesus Christ in their lives, there should be something different about them.  Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and bring glory to your Father in heaven.” If our actions are expressions of our thoughts, then those thoughts should be positive and appealing.