A Change Of Mind


JESUS CHRIST is the perfect, peerless pattern for all who believe. He is not to be JUST our pattern. Indeed He is a pattern beyond compare, however, before being our model He must be our Master. Patterning our lives after Him is an impossibility until He becomes our Savior and then empowers us. Apart from this imparted power there is no possibility of following Him as our pattern.

Jesus is our worthy example after we have trusted Him as Savior. For this reason the text says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” That would require a mind transplant.

The impossibility of having a brain transplant has long intrigued scientists. Whose memory would it be if someone else’s brains were transplanted into your head: yours or the donor’s?

It is not possible to transplant a brain, but it is possible to transplant a mind; the mind of Christ. For that reason the text challenges us: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

Thomas A. Edison remarked, “The chief purpose of the body is to carry the brain around.” If that is true, why is so much emphasis put on the vehicle and so little on the cargo?

The brain is visible matter. The mind is invisible non-matter.

Your brain consists of between 40 and 50 ounces of gray matter, approximately 80% of which is water. That leaves 10 ounces of gray matter with which to think and reason.

If each of these gray cells were the size of a football, the entire surface of the globe would be covered 27 feet deep with pigskins.

Compared to a computer, the brain is far superior. The human mind can accommodate up to 100 million bits of information per inch. That means your brain has the capacity to store all known information. The human brain has the capacity to capture, store, recall, and program more than six hundred bits of information per second.

A British neurophysician has said that if we were to electronically approximate an average human brain, the result would cost close to three billion billion dollars (that’s a 3 followed by eighteen zeros).

The brain is the stage on which the mind plays out the human drama.

William James, noted American philosopher and psychologist, summarily said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that men can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind!”

Devotees of the New Age movement have pushed the concept of mind control beyond the realm of reason. In doing so they have caused many in the Christian community to shy away from this important subject or neglect it at best. The Bible speaks often about the importance of the mind and our thoughts. For example.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Some extremist have pushed this principle too far and say, “You are what you think about all day.”

That isn’t true. If it were all teenage boys would be girls. There might be a pretty even trade off because all some girls think about is boys.

Isaiah assures us of great peace of mind resulting from proper thought. “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

Paul gives an inventory of positives and concludes by saying “think on these things” (Philippians 4: 8).

Through the prophet Ezekiel God revealed: “Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me,…for I know the things that come into your mind” (Ezekiel 11:5).

Real victory and joy come when we know God’s thoughts. When our delight is that of the Psalmist in 139:17 we are winners:

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).

Controlling the mind is the job of the will — our real self.

It is important to control the mind because attitudes determine actions.

Not only can you change your mind on a single decision, you can change your entire lifestyle by changing your mind regarding Christ.

Attitudes determine actions. I want you to engage in an experiment to demonstrate this to yourself.

Everyone please stand. Assume this attitude toward those around you for a moment. Shortly I want you to greet those around you like they are unimportant to you and you are trying to get by them to speak to someone more important. For a moment, and just a moment, consider those people around you unimportant to you and greet them in that way. Pretend you want to get away from them quickly in order to get to someone more important. Please behave toward those around you in that exact manner right now. Thanks!

Now I want you to greet those same people around you like they are your best friends you haven’t seen in some time. Greet them as though you are excited to see them.

Thanks! Please be seated.

First you had a negative thought. The people were not important and you didn’t particularly care for them.

Then you greeted them with a positive attitude and it made a difference in your actions. Your attitude determined your action.

By letting the Lord work though you it is possible for you to change your attitude, disposition, and lifestyle.

Here is a thunderous thought. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and what you tell it. Take some temperamental trait for example. Let’s consider one that might well relate to many different people. What are your early morning hours like? Are they a drag? Do you or someone you know go around with your head down repeating, if not out loud and least silently to yourself, “I don’t like this day. I wish it hadn’t begun yet.”

That is what you have been telling your mind and it believes it. Now try sending a different message like this.

“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I have never lived it before and will never live it again. I want to live it up in such a way that I won’t long to live it down. There will be no instant replay or rerun therefore I want to live every hour of it in such a way as to please my Lord.”

That will start the juices jangling and change your focus from negative to positive and positive attitudes change your actions to positive actions. Our Lord enables it to work.

Our physiology is a term used to refer to how we behave. When your psychology changes your physiology changes. That is when your focus changes from negative to positive your actions change also. When your mind changes from the carnal to the mind of Christ your behavior also changes.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).

Servants with a renewed mind bring “every thought into captivity.”

Consider the elusive goal of happiness which our constitution guarantees us the right to pursue and most people chase after with great energy. British author Samuel Johnson wisely wrote of happiness, “The fountain of content must spring up in the mind; and he who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he proposes to remove.”

This brings us to our text and insight into how to properly change our mind. Desiring for us the very best, the Lord God inspired the writer of Philippians to exhort us to “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus …” TODAY you can have a mind transplant. The mind of Christ can be yours. That is, Christ’s way of thinking can become your way of thinking. His outlook can become yours. His opinions can become yours.

Philippians 2: 5 – 11 is an appeal to you to change your mind. Why not? You changed it many times to get to the mind set you now have. This passage offers the optimum admirable attitude. If you are not a Christian it would have to begin with you changing your mind about Christ before you could change it to the mind of Christ. The mind set of Christ does not come about by imitation, but impartation.

Let’s take a look at this passage and bit by bit apply it.

The expression “mind of Christ” is a summary reference to His outlook on life. Outlook determines outcome.

This does not come about by imitation, but impartation.

This passage traces Christ’s descent from Sovereign to servant.

Before Bethlehem, Jesus existed in eternity and deity. As a member of the Trinity He was coequal, co-eternal, and co-essential with God the Father.

In leaving heaven and assuming a human form for us, He revealed His mind as being UNSELFISH. If we manifest this mind set we will:

Prefer one another. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).

Bear each others burdens. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Edify each other. “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another…” (I Thessalonians 5:11).

In Philippians 2: 6 and 8 two different Greek words are translated “form.” To understand them is to begin to comprehend the humility of Christ in coming to earth from heaven.

In verse 6 “form” translates MORPHE, meaning nature or essence. It is an outward expression of an inward nature.

In verse 8 “form” or “fashion” translates SCHEMA, which refers to outward appearance that changes.

For example, your SCHEMA changes all through life. We go through stages, such as, baby, infant, juvenile, adolescent, young adult, middle-aged adult, and older adult. However, at every stage we are a human being.

Take the substance “Playdough.” Shaped as a square it has the form of a square but is Playdough. Remold it as a sphere and it has the form of a sphere but is still Playdough.

In heaven Jesus existed as God. On earth in His human form He was a man, but His nature was still that of God.

The mind of Christ is one of servitude. He came to serve.

He took upon Himself the actual “form” of a servant. He didn’t pretend to be a servant, He wasn’t play acting, He actually became a human being.

In fusing manhood and deity He didn’t cease being God. His MORPHE did not change, His SCHEMA did. Internally He was the eternal God. Externally He was a man.

“In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).

He “made Himself of no reputation” (Vs. 7). That is, He did not use His deity for Himself. His every use of His supernatural power was for others and never for Himself.

Unselfishness was the first attribute of the mind of Christ noted in this passage. Service is the second one.

Christ said, “He that is going to be greatest among you has got to be a servant” (Matthew 23:11).

Too many people live their lives on the cafeteria plan — self-service only.

A selfish person is like a ball of string, all wrapped up in himself.

Selfish people are like the fellow who prayed, “Lord use me, but mostly in an advisory capacity.”

Albert Schweitzer, a man with a servant’s temperament, said, “The only ones among us who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

Finding happiness apart from service is as impossible as finding a black palomino.

Traits of Christ as a servant which we must emulate are:
A. Service must be voluntary. He “became obedient” (Vs. 8).
B. Service evidences total dependence. He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30).
C. Service is evidenced by steadfast devotion. Resolutely, Christ said, “I must work the work of Him who sent Me” (John 9:4).

This requires a will cast not just in iron, but titanium, in order to maintain fresh devotion. To stay when others stray requires a will well-fixed. Consistency counts for more than capacity.

A spastic, herky-jerky, on-again, off-again fidelity dishonors the Lord, displeases the world, and defeats the doer.

III. THE SACRIFICE (Verse 8) “He humbled Himself”
At times our service must involve sacrifice. Thomas a Kempis wrote in the “Imitation of Christ,” “Remember that you are here to serve, not to rule; that you are called to suffer in the furnace. Here no one can abide, unless he is ready to humble himself with all his heart for the love of God.”

Many are willing to serve IF they don’t have to sacrifice.

Christ humbled Himself. He wasn’t humbled. Even in His ignominious death He gave His life, it was not taken. He said, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again” (John 10:18).

As a result of His faithful mission as the Suffering Servant, God the Father highly exalted God the Son. He gave Him a new name, “Lord.”

Let me illustrate in part what it means for Him to be Lord.

Think of yourself as living in a rental complex. Your landlord is a person who seems bent on controlling all tenants and making life miserable for all. His rent is extravagant. If you can’t pay on time he charges you exorbitant interest to get you further in debt. He barges in at all sorts of inconvenient times and charges you maintenance costs for damage he causes. Your life is miserable.

Then there is a fearful knock on the door and you open it timorously. Someone else is standing there who says, “I’ve taken over this housing unit. I bought it. You can live here free as long as you would like. The rent is fully paid for life. I am going to live in the manager’s apartment and will be glad to be of help whenever you call on me.

What a relief. You have been saved from the old tyrant landlord.

Soon there is a knock on the door. You have hardly had time to rejoice in your new found freedom. You open the door and there stands your old landlord! He is as mean, demanding, and glowering as ever. He says he has come to collect.
What are you to do? Do you pay him? Do you do what he wants you to do? Do you walk right up to him and bop him on the nose? NO — he’s bigger than you!

You confidently tell him, “You will have to take this up with my new Landlord who lives right over there in the manager’s apartment.

Your old landlord tries to coax then coerce you to pay-up. He endeavors to entice and then extort money from you. Your response, “Take that up with my new Landlord.”

All along your old landlord knew this he was simply trying to get you to pay-up out of habit or from pressure.

That is a parable of a Christian. Once Christ has delivered a person from sin and the devil that person can depend on Him. The old landlord will continue to come back but you just refer him to your new Landlord.

How do you keep the devil from mastering your mind? You let the mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Follow this closely. “Lord” translates the Greek word KURIOS. It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ADONAI, the personal name for Jehovah God among the Jews. No Jew pronounced the name Jehovah even when reading Scripture. Instead they substituted ADONAI.

When the Old Testament Hebrew name for God, ADONAI, was translated into Greek it was translated KURIOS. Therefore, when in the New Testament Jesus is called “Lord” He is being called God. Is He your God?

To bow before Him now means salvation.

To bow before Him in eternity means condemnation.

You will bow before Him. You choose when.

The timing of your choice determines whether it is unto salvation or condemnation.

In the 19th Century, Italy was divided and ruled by the Austrians. There was a growing movement to free Italy and unite it as a free state under Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. A slogan appeared all over Italy which symbolized this hope: “Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy.” In Italian it was: “Victor Emmanuel Re De Italia.” By using the first letter of each Italian word, patriots produced the slogan VERDI. It appeared everywhere as expectation grew. In 1861 Victor Emmanuel became king. The slogan still appeared, but with different meaning. It was no longer a cry of expectation. It became a about of triumphant realization.

Today we anticipate the coming of the triumphant Lord Jesus. Today it is an anticipation. The day of triumph will come and then it will be triumph of realization.

I don’t know your opinion of Jesus Christ. I do know His opinion of you. He loves you. If your opinion hasn’t been one of love for Him you can change your mind today and spiritually bow before Him, making this a day of triumphant realization.

What He did was “to the glory of God the Father” (2:11). Your positive response to Him will also be to the glory of God the Father. Then – – –

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostate fall:
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.”