The Christian Mind

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “thinking” as: the process of using one's mind to consider or reason about something. The ability to engage the mind in serious thought is often taken for granted, especially in American culture. Irish playwright and political activist George Bernard Shaw once said, “Two-percent of the people think. Three percent of the people think they think, and ninety-five percent of people would rather die than think!” While his grim assessment may not quite be statistically accurate, his sentiment rings true.

We live in a “brain-drain” culture that majors in “screen-time” and instant web searches and minors in careful reasoning and serious thought. So often our minds sit in neutral while we absorb everything we see and hear. But as Christians, that is not God’s will for our minds. Theologian John Stott says, “One of the highest and noblest functions of man’s mind is to listen to God’s Word, and so to read his mind and think his thoughts after him, both in nature and in Scripture.”

The Christian mind should be one that carefully considers ideas, opinions, arguments and thoughts and filters them through the lens of Scripture. In fact, this is a major part of the believer’s spiritual warfare. Notice what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6,

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Ideas, opinions, arguments, and thoughts are the basis of an individual’s worldview. If you consider every major “hot-button” issue in our culture today - human sexuality & marriage, abortion, science & education, just to name a few - you see that one’s position on these (and every other issue) comes from their worldview. The important matter for us as believers is to seriously consider and submit the thoughts, ideas, opinions, and claims that form our worldviews to the authority of Scripture. Indeed, the very truth claims of Scripture should be what forms our worldviews!

Thinking carefully and critically about our worldviews and the worldviews that we face each day at work among co-workers, at school among peers and teachers, or in the media and pop culture can be a challenging task, but Scripture gives us a simple, but effective paradigm by which we can consider the values and belief systems we encounter daily. Consider Romans 12:2,

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.

Paul tells us in this verse that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world (in its values & beliefs), but to be transformed by renewing our minds. Then, with renewed minds, we will be able to test and discern the will of God and what is good and acceptable and perfect. The mind is the object of renewal here, which will result in a transformed life that pleases God. This principle - that our behavior flows from our beliefs - is basic to the Christian life. The renewal of the mind that Paul talks about is understood to be a daily and life-long process of submitting our thoughts and opinions to Scripture and bringing them into obedience to Christ. But, this cannot happen apart from regular exposure to the Word of God. Whether it be through daily Bible readings in personal devotions, listening to sermons throughout the week (from godly, biblical preachers), or participating in a Bible study or home fellowship group, we renew our minds through God’s Word.

The Christian mind is a renewed mind that informs our choices, behaviors and how we interact with the world around us. Let us be faithful to avoid the “brain-drain” that can easily ensnare us and think biblically so we can be effective ambassadors for Christ in a culture that is growing increasingly hostile to the truth claims of Scripture.

Verses for further study:

Colossians 3:1-10; Ephesians 5:1-21; John 17:1-19; Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Peter 1:13-16

[Post by Brian Henson, Youth Pastor]

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