term paper #4: What Does It Mean to Think with the Mind of Christ?
It is natural for us to try and help those around us. After what Ukraine has been through during the past year, I don’t think there are many Christians here left who haven’t felt the urge to seek God’s answers to the problems. Even non-Christians have been asking the same questions: “Where is your God in all of this?” As a result, the physical battleground has become also the reason for the battleground for deep spiritual yearnings of men and women on both sides of the conflict.
As Christians in Ukraine, I think many of us were not even contemplating having to answer our friends’ tough questions about justice, betrayal, war, and suffering. Life was good with few exceptions and we became comfortably settled in our day-to-day lives. As a result of this “contentment,” we were completely unprepared. This past year was our desert – being tempted to give up, give in, despair, “curse God and die,”… yet God has been doing wonders in our nation, the greatest of which is that people are waking up from their spiritual sleep and now need leaders who know God and who can guide them.
Theological thinking, or, as Henri Nouwen terms it, thinking with the mind of Christ, is what helps us to consider each trial in our life (as well as other happenings) as something that can make us closer to God.
How can war and near-default in the country make us closer to God? It is a (somewhat harsh, but needed) reminder that it is God who is control, not us, not our governments. It teaches us that God still takes care of us. It lets us know that while this life is important, what is more important is the urgency to know God, not just about Him. When everything is fine, we rarely think of the fact that we will die soon and we don’t know when our time will come. During war, that understanding comes to all – even those who claimed they don’t care about the next life, living according to Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.”
It is during this time especially that Christians have to be ever-ready to share the Good News about the life to come with whoever comes our way, not just fix temporary problems of this life. For that, thinking with the mind of Christ is required.
Nouwen also mentions that we should not simply solve psychological or sociological problems of our times, but also discern how God acts throughout human history and how pretty much every event can lead us to a better understanding of what Christ was talking about when he said “Take up your cross and follow me.” Only by dying to ourselves, we can truly be resurrected to a life with Him and teach others how to do the same.
So what does it mean to think with the mind of Christ? It is seeing this world with the eyes of God, learning along the way to see everything clearer, and guiding others along the same path.
Quotes have been taken from Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus – a small but powerful book on Christian leadership.