The Mind of God and the Voice of Christ
What is our ultimate authority? What is our standard of truth? What we are trained to think about truth will be determined by whether we are thinking the things of God or the things of man. Recall that in Jesus’ rebuke of Peter’s reaction to Jesus talking about His own death, Jesus said, “For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matt 16:23).
Peter had been trained to think of the Messiah according to the expectations of human beings, and the only way he was going to get over what he thought about Jesus would be to retrain and refocus his mind to hear the things of God.
Thinking according to the things of God or the things of men (the flesh) makes all the difference in how we view God and others. Paul said it this way: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer” (2 Cor 5:16). We are setting either our minds on the things of God or things of men, and this applies to just about any issue we face.
If we are going to think according to the mind of God, we must consider what God has revealed from His mind about, for example, issues like who human beings are, male-female relationships, sexual relations, race relations, marriage, love, the church, salvation, how we treat others, relation to government, and on we can go. Mostly, this is about the nature of truth itself. If we are setting our minds on the things of man, truth becomes fluid, relative, subjective, and ultimately manipulated according to our wishes. There is no standard, and the fruit of this is chaos, confusion, and corruption. The mind of God tells us something very different. While there will be disagreements about various particulars, the starting point must still be the mind of God rather than the mind of man.
Remember, too, that the mind of God is not going to be a replica of the way we already think. God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours (cf. Isa 55:8-9). We cannot know God’s mind simply by meditating within ourselves and then thinking that our thoughts are actually God’s thoughts, for then we have only succeeded in making God after our own image. If we are going to really listen to the mind of God, we need to be prepared to think very differently from what we might naturally think.
“Take care then how you hear…” Are we listening for God’s mind or intent on doing whatever we want? This leads us to…
The Voice of Christ
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Whose voice are we hearing? We are all listening to someone’s voice, whether it be the voice of culture, the voice of another perceived authority, or the voice of Jesus. There is no escaping this.
“Hearing the voice of” someone else or a cultural group-think is acknowledgement in our lives of where we think ultimate authority resides. When we hear the voice and follow, we are saying that this voice holds enough weight for us that we are willing to give our lives and thoughts to what this voice is saying. The “voice” is everything to us. It is the “voice” to which we appeal for why we do what we do. The “voice” becomes an integral part of our identity.
In the cacophony of voices, we will hear echoes of confusion, distrust, every wind of doctrine that tosses us about and creates in us a chaotic sense of doubt and lack of clarity. There is no peace, no grounding, and no hope in the disorder. We are tired, restless, and hungry for what truly satisfies. The voice of culture cannot give this, for it is ever in flux, never providing a solid footing on which to stand. The voice of others beset by their own sins and weaknesses cannot provide ultimate hope, no matter much confidence they exude or pride they demonstrate. They are empty, “waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 12-13).
We are made to hear the voice of clarity that reaches to the depths of our hearts and renews our spirits. We are made to hear the voice of Jesus, and the voice of Jesus is directly tied to the mind of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Jesus said:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt 5:6).
Whose voice will you listen to today? Whose mind are you seeking?