15 May ‘Oh for A right Mind!’
The man at shore of the Gadarenes had been possessed by a ‘legion’ of demons for a long time (Luke 8:27). He was not able to stay in his home, but in tombs – amongst dead bodies. People had tried to bind him with chains and shackles, but the demons would break them, and drive him into the wilderness. He had worn no clothes either. He was notorious in his country because of his terrible condition – hapless and helpless. The Lord Jesus Christ delivered him by sending the legion of demons into the herd of swine that then drowned. The crowds came to see him when the swine-keepers told them about it. Lo! There he was – sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and “in his right mind.” The demons had made him lose control over his mind and body. But Jesus restored it. The disciples would have clothed him, while he would have realised what terrible condition he had been in.
He had experienced the power of Jesus, when, at His word, this great deliverance happened. Even though all the people asked Jesus to go away from them, in his right mind, he begged to be with Him. But when Jesus told him to go and testify to his house about God’s great work for him, he obeyed, in his right mind, and testified about Jesus throughout his whole city! Those who have come to know who Jesus is, have the right mind. They will be willing to follow Him even if the crowd is otherwise, obey Him, and proclaim His works for them.
Apostle Paul says, “You, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Col. 1:21). Being descendants of Adam and Eve, we inherit the sinful nature and enmity against God by default. Before the Holy One, Omniscient God, our evil thoughts and deeds are bare. The Control Key of our minds is with Satan, who has ‘blinded our minds’ (2 Cor. 4:4) till we see the light of the Good News of our Saviour Jesus Christ. As we respond to His light, we begin to see our horrible and shameful realities within that were hidden thus far. The Spirit of God and the Word of God cleanse us, as we allow, liberating us and transforming us into the image of God, from one level of glory to another (John 15:3; 2 Cor. 3:18).
Paul also says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7) A fleshly mind-set, i.e. focus on gratifying the desires of the flesh cannot be in submission to God’s law. Not that it will lead to death, it is death; but the spiritual mind is life and peace (v. 6). With our thoughts bound within the regime of the visible material world, we remain disconnected from God, thus in a deadly condition. But while living in the body, we can experience deliverance from this death by giving the control of our mind, and submitting to the Spirit of God. As the Holy Spirit leads us, and we follow His promptings in our daily lives, we will experience the power of God that gives us true life. We need to often do a Thought-Check to examine our condition – dead or alive; asking ourselves – What is the first thing that comes to my mind in the morning? What do I yearn and toil for? What is it that
I long to spend time in? When did I last spend time alone with God in personal fasting and prayer?
We often go through times of unrest, irritability, doubts, frustrations, etc., because of our carnal minds. Peace is a result of the spiritual mind – keeping our thoughts on God. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You,” (Isaiah 26:3). Our trust in God determines our level of peace. A question may arise – How can our mind be on God while studying or working in the world? By not laying up treasures on earth, but in heaven (Mat. 6:19-21); By not serving two masters, but one – God (6:24); By seeking the Kingdom of God first (6:25-34). The promise of provision follows, but after. A double mind – thinking about self on one hand, and about God on the other – would make us unstable (James 1:8), unfocused and not single-eyed, as Jesus warned in Matthew 6:22-23.
In 2 Kings 5, we read of Naaman, the Syrian army commander, being healed of his leprosy. The miracle happened because a young, unnamed, Israelite girl, a slave of Naaman’s wife told her about the prophet Elisha. Though being a slave in a strange land, alone, yet with her mind she served God, and sought the welfare of her master by telling him about the power of the God of Israel who could heal him. “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel” (v. 15b) said this heathen army commander, who had previously been an enemy of Israel. “But Gehazi” records the same chapter, the servant of Elisha. . . said, “My master shouldn’t have let this fellow get away without taking his gifts. I will chase after him and get something from him.” (v.20 TLB). He ran after Naaman’s chariot, lied, and took two talents of silver and two expensive robes, and hid them in his house. But Elisha knew of it, and asked him, “Is this the time to receive money and clothing and olive farms and vineyards and sheep and oxen and servants? Because you have done this, Naaman’s leprosy shall be upon you and upon your children and your children’s children forever.” (vs.26,27) Even though he served the prophet, his mind was on material wealth, being blind to the power and works of the LORD. What a contrast to that little slave girl!
The Lord Jesus said, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God… Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (Luke 12:21,34; TLB). The right mind is one that is set on things above, though physically being on earth – one that thinks not about one’s own condition, either in self-pity or pride, but about others, and seeks the welfare of those around them, by getting them connected with God.
To the Church at Philippi, where there was selfish ambition, conceit and looking to one’s own interests, Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” How does he describe the mind of Christ? According to Philippians 2:6-8 in The Message by Eugene H. Peterson: “He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.”
A loose hold on what was His own – Divinity itself!
An implicit obedience to the Father’s will – at all costs, and completely.
The right mind is the mind of Christ – meek and unassuming; ready to submit to God without complaining or questioning.
Oh for the mind of Christ!
The author is a Staff with UESI based in Nagpur. She and her husband Arpit are blessed with two kids Jason and Susan.