THE MIND OF CHRIST – Spirit and Truth Worship
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:5-8
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22: 41-42
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23: 34
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23: 46
*all scriptures in the NKJV unless otherwise stated.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”…I believe is not just an admonition but a command to come to a place where the life of Christ is fully expressed in us in our daily walk with God and relationship with men. The above scripture practically captures the character of the mind of Christ, giving clear indications of what it is capable of making a man become in God. However, it didn’t give a definition of what the mind of Christ really is. I do believe this is because the mind of Christ is not what a man can define by any form of concept or logic. It can only be defined by a life that has lived it out. In other words, its definition is found in its living out and nothing else. The Lord Jesus lived out a pattern and a lifestyle that gives complete credence to the content of His heart and mind, as it relates directly to His love for God, which gives a clear picture of what He lived out as “the mind of Christ”. The mind of Christ is practically the love of Jesus for God the Father which determines every of His dealings with men, as an accurate response to God.
Personally, I do strongly believe that the mind of Christ is what Jesus meant when He spoke about the worship in Spirit and in Truth that God the Father is looking for. It is about dying to self on the cross of affliction and the drinking from the cup of the Lord, which is not about the physical bread and wine of the last supper, but about bearing the cross of His affliction. For when the Lord asked James and John if they can drink from the cup He is meant to drink from in Matthew 20:22, He was not talking about drinking from a cup of wine, but about the affliction He is meant to go through on the cross. For nothing else can make a man share in the glory of Jesus outside of them taking up their cross daily like He did and dying to their will and desires on the cross.
Let me share three things with you that will help in creating a perspective concerning the mind of Christ. All three are the direct responses of Christ to God the Father in the face of trials and temptations, which are His spirit and truth worship unto God.
NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE
The Garden of Gethsemane was a place of trial for the Lord Jesus, where the true intent of His heart was tried and His response to that test revealed. He was in such emotional and spiritual agony for the death that was inevitably coming for Him, that He Himself said “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” and because of his anguish, the sweat coming from Him became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. In this place of total despair, He had two options of either rejecting the cup of His suffering or allowing himself drink of the cup. He chose however to say “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (See John 12: 27). Obviously, He had the authority to lay down His life and also to pick it up again. But knowing the plan of the Father for mankind and creation, he said “but for this reason I came” – that is, to die. The Garden of Gethsemane experience is exactly like the experience of the first Adam in the Garden of Eden. He was brought through the supposed fall to sin, to the place where he must face God face to face and be changed through death into the image of God, but he chose – unlike Jesus – to hide behind the tree, and thus missed the very reason he was created, which is to be in the image of God through death.
This Garden of Gethsemane or Garden of Eden experience is what every true Overcomer must go through in order to come to that place of total yieldedness unto God. We go through this in various levels and in different intensities every day in our walk with God. This is how we overcome in Christ. For when God allows or sends the things that come to test the reason why we were born and chosen of God, and when the pain we feel draws blood from our souls, it is to establish a response to the will of God. Do we call it quits or do we, like Jesus, say “not my will but yours be done?” Mind you, the pattern of “not my will but yours be done” often happens when we are in situations where we have options to choose from, the easy way out or the God chosen way that puts us on our knees of rejection and frustration. Of a truth, the journey of faith to sonship in God was finished for us by the Lord Jesus, but the walking on that path He made for us must only be walked by us. And how we respond to every aspect of the trials and temptations on this path will determine our growth and conformity to Him.
FATHER FORGIVE THEM
This is another area in which every Overcomer is tested on their journey of faith with God. The life of an Overcomer practically takes the shape of a man nailed to the cross like the Lord Jesus was. It’s a place of total dependency on God and a place where the very things that make us human, are fully tested. Have you ever been in the place where you are aware of the power and authority that God put in you, which can do damage to those that spitefully use you, abuse you, oppress you, mock you and make you feel worthless? But then you are not allowed to use such authority or do anything to your mockers except to forgive them? It can be highly emotionally draining, but that is the pathway set for those who must overcome like Christ overcame. We sometimes wish we could avenge ourselves on those that hurt us, the government system that undermines us and we sometimes find ourselves cursing them in our hearts and wishing that something evil will happen to them. We feel like letting someone know that we are not idiots or weak, even though they try to make us feel like we are. This stage of our walk with God is imputed so that we can learn the mind of Christ. Christ was bullied by those who came to see Him nailed to the cross. He was told to come down from the cross if truly He is the Son of God and if truly He had saved others. He knew He had the choice of coming down from that cross and the choice of staying put on it. He chose the latter. The tendency for revenge is not the pattern that Jesus showed on His cross. He who has learnt to yield their pains and hurts to “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” has sincerely attained a deep level in their walk with God and their conformity to sonship. The mocking in this stage of our walk with God is important to bring out the sweetness of God in us. Meaning, it can get to a point where we are in such a place of total despair that we can’t seem to bring forth forgiveness from ourselves that we are only left with tapping into the forgiveness of the Father for such situations. The Lord Jesus had the power and authority to destroy the entire Jerusalem as He hung on that cross, but He didn’t allow the pain he felt to truncate the plan of God. He allowed His love for God and His commitment to His mandate to prevail. Know this dear Overcomer, you will be tested on your cross of commitment to God and the only response that will match the mind of Christ will be “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”. There is no other way to learn the mind of Christ. There is no other way.
In addition, the act of forgiveness is not demanded because of the offender. It is demanded for the spiritual growth and emancipation of the one who the offence was thrown at. So dear Overcomer, live out the patterns of Christ and your life will be that one which expresses the very mind of Christ in God.
INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT
There is no better spirit and truth worship than this which Jesus revealed on the cross of His death. The Lord Jesus in John 4 said to the woman at the well that “… the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Somehow, we have succeeded in turning worship into good music and fine singing. But worship is not singing and making music. These are just channels for worship, sometimes. True worship in spirit is only found on the cross of our humiliation, death and pain in which the only response we can muster is “into your hands, Lord, I commit my spirit”. Obviously, Jesus was not a singer nor a musician, nor a dancer, even though as God, He could do so. And in a practical sense, the best known worship pattern was revealed by Him in John 4, making Him a song-less, music-less worshiper, who worshipped on His cross in spirit and in truth by total submission to the will mind of God for the hour. The mind of Christ in an Overcomer brings him to this point on the cross where everything in him wants to jump off and run away, but because the commitment is to the will of the Father, the absolute response will be “in your hands I commit my spirit”. No one who gets here in his or her walk with God will be counted unworthy of the throne of Jesus. No one.
SPIRIT AND TRUTH WORSHIP
The worship in spirit and in truth was fully revealed on the cross by the Lord Jesus, even as He hung on that tree of death and limitation. Right there on the cross, He didn’t try to bring himself down from it, even though He had the power to do so and the only thing He gave up was his spirit into the hand of the Father. He worshipped with his life in Spirit (Letting go His Spirit) and in Truth (Being unable to do anything for Himself on the cross). This is an absolute pattern of worship that God deserves, and which is fully enabled by a deep and committed love for Him and not the fame and fanfare that we have somehow turned worship into in our day. For no greater love can a man give to God except to lay down his spirit into the hands of Him who is able to keep it until the end.
OF NO REPUTATION
The obedience to the calling to death on the cross, will take everything from an Overcomer. One of the things that most men won’t want to give up is reputation. As men raised by a society that believes so much in reputation, name, fame and all the other things men measure themselves by, it is very difficult to let go of the things that makes us highly measured in the eyes of the society. Scripture speaks about Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Mathew 19:16-22. Please read the story for context. At the end of the encounter the Lord said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, and sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” And scripture further went to say when the young man heard what Jesus said, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Now the question is, why did he go away sorrowful? Because he had much possessions. Now why should much possessions make him sorrowful concerning taking up his cross to follow Christ? It’s quite simple. His entire life is tied to his reputation. He had a reputation for strictly following the law from since he was a child and his reputation as a man came from his riches. Meaning, leaving everything he has built his reputation around to now follow Jesus a “broke teacher” and a breaker of the law was unthinkable. So he went away sorrowful, not even for once considering the words that Jesus spoke about eternal treasures.
This is why Jesus had to let go His reputation as God Himself, in order to carry out the mandate given to Him by God the Father. No man can follow Jesus accurately and sincerely if they still have their ego and reputation to protect. The way of the cross is a reputation-less path of shame and death on the cross of self-sacrifice for God. There is no other option for true overcomers. Mind you, the cross and the grave of Jesus did one thing for Him. It gave Him a name that is above all other names and all authority over all powers. This is also the portion of those who will overcome on the cross of their affliction for Christ, go through the grave of obscurity from men and then rise on the third day in the presence of God with new and glorified bodies like Christ. They will be given new names that are above all principalities and powers, a name written in white stone which only the bearer will know. (See Revelation 2:17)
OVERCOMING THROUGH SPIRIT AND TRUTH WORSHIP
Now to you overcomers, loved of the Father and sent by Him, know this for sure that in your flesh, you will be tested constantly in every aspect of your walk with God. The Lord Jesus never said it will be an easy journey, but He did promise never to leave nor forsake us even until the end. In fact, He promised that everyone that follows Him will be tempted through trials and tribulations, but that we must be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. There may not be any trial or temptation in which any Overcomer will be nailed to the cross physically like Jesus was in His day, but our everyday crosses are those trials and temptations that elicit responses from us. How we respond determines how we overcome. Therefore, let no man deceive you with vain doctrines and religious theories that have nothing to do with eternal realities in God. For true life of faith is that which is submitted on the cross of death for the will of God to prevail at all times in our lives. For certainly, we are living in the days of the seventh trumpet of Revelation in which the mysteries of God will be completed. One of such mysteries that will be completed in us is the mystery of being clothed with the new immortal bodies like Christ in the twinkling of an eye. These glorious bodies will make us as Christ is with all power and glory revealed in us just as He is in glory. So dear Overcomer, do not lose your hope and faith in the eternal redemption that is made perfect for you in Christ, because of your daily trials and the expressions of the cross. Let your spirit and truth worship which is your life laid down before God, flow like the river of life to Him always even as you behold the day of the Lord approach.
God bless you. From your brother.