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Christian Mind
  • Introduction
  • Why do I need a Christian Mind?
  • What is a Christian Mind

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The Christian Mind

Does it really matter?

Rich Milne


Most of us don't give any more thought to our minds than we do to the tires on our car. It's not until we get a "blowout," it's not until we suddenly get a 'flat' in our thinking, that we stop to check the condition of our tires. If we are to successfully carry out the Great Commission, we will have to interact with people who think differently from us in many fundamental ways. It is as we develop a Christian mind that we are able to meet this challenge. But what is a "Christian mind" anyway?

A Christian mind is one in which Jesus Christ has been given the right to rule. When we become Christians we give our hearts and minds to Christ. Paul says we are to have "renewed minds." What is a "renewed mind" and how does renewal happen? Our goal is to answer these two questions.

  1. Why do I need a Christian mind?

    1. We need a Christian mind because God commands it (Mark 12:28--31). It is not optional.

      1. Christ adds a word to the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4--5 to make clear the meaning. We do not love God with just our hearts or just our minds, but both. Using our minds does not mean just being "intellectual" about our faith, but thinking about what we believe in our hearts. We are not people made of parts but integrated bodies and spirits.

      2. Paul says that we need to be "renewing our minds" (Rom. 12:2). Renewal is an ongoing process, not a total transformation at salvation.

    2. We need a Christian mind to grow spiritually (Col. 1:9--10).

      1. If we do not use our minds to think clearly we become muddled and eventually lose respect for ourselves (Prov. 23:7).

      2. To please the Lord, we must walk in wisdom, which means that we must take what we know and think through how to apply it in our lives.

    3. We need a Christian mind to love our neighbors.

      1. We need to think through the implications of our words and actions for our neighbors.

        What does the Bible tell me that can help me love the guy I share my dorm room with? Or my sorority sister? Or the person on my soccer team? Perhaps you could be the person in your fraternity who drives home the drunks on Friday night. This could provide you with great opportunities to talk . . . later.

      2. To love the world in a way that will bring about change, we need to understand the world.

        Too many Christians want to change the world before they understand what the problems are. Ecology is one area where this is painfully true. Recycling has some great possibilities, but you must separate the hype from the helpful.

  2. What is a Christian mind?

    1. A Christian mind is not rigidly compartmentalized.

      1. Our minds should not have rigid compartments for "Christian" thoughts and "secular" thoughts.

        We need to act out those "Christian" thoughts in a "secular" world. All the parts of our minds need to be related to each other and subjected to God.

      2. "What I learn at church" and "what I learn at college" must not be kept apart.

        Life isn't two separate bookshelves. We need to let what we learn in church add to and critique what we learn at school.

    1. A Christian mind works at integrating all of the Bible with all of life.

      1. We need to look for ways the Bible helps us understand and explain our world.

        What are the connections between the Bible and our culture? Not just a critique-- we need to build a positive response to the world.

        Francis Schaeffer's book How Should We Then Live? {1} is a good place to start. It gives a clear critique of modern man's predicament and how we got here.

      2. You can't live bad theology.

        The truth is true to what is there. If our view of God is only that of a stern judge, we will have great difficulty living out the Christian life in joy. You can't drive well with a broken windshield. "If our minds are fragmented and disjointed, our life may be the same. If your thinking is full of errors, look out for your actions!"{2}

      3. To integrate the Bible with our studies we need to answer many questions. For example: How does what you are studying in the classroom fit together to give you a coherent picture of the world you are seeking to change? How does what you learn in history effect the way you look at racism? Why study philosophy or psychology?

    2. A Christian mind resists unnecessary conformity.

      1. We need to resist the seduction and captivity of the world's system so that we are free to be conformed to God's pattern for living.

        But you can't resist something you don't know about or don't understand. We must not be blind to our culture.

        For example, it would be difficult to improvise on a guitar without having the ability to hear how the improvisation fits (or doesn't fit) into the surrounding musical fabric of the composition.

      2. We need to learn the rules of our discipline before we can be creative apart from them.

        Freedom must have a form to contain it or it leads to fragmentation. This is why our culture is being blown apart: it wants freedom without form.

    3. A Christian mind is a mind that seeks ways to act on its concern for others.

      1. Thought devoid of action is intellectualism.

        Most of us read our Bibles better than we live them. Just thinking about the homeless doesn't help them at all. Will we pray? Will we give? Will we go and help them?

      2. We use our minds in order to know what to do when the opportunity arises.

        Unless we have thought through what we could do, we are often paralyzed when the moment to act comes.

      3. What are the implications of what I am studying for the way I act? Because I have read Philippians or studied chemistry, how will I live differently? Am I looking for ways to put into practice what I am learning either in class or from my own studies? You've got to live what you learn or you'll lose what you learned.

    4. The Christian mind is a mind that maintains a sense of wonder.

      1. Our lives are filled with astonishing things.

        Usually not the big things, but things like the telephone, or aluminum foil, or recorded music. How much do you know about the world around you? How much do you see of the beauty in the world around you?

      2. The world is not "boring."

        You may be boring but the world isn't! Being bored is a choice, or sometimes not making a choice to do something. God made a great creation; what is our response to it?

©1998 Probe Ministries
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