term paper #4: What Does It Mean to Think with the Mind of Christ?

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.

  • Good point Zee. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” has always been an intriguing statement to me. What exactly is that? how can I have the mind of a Perfect God/man?

    • I’ve had a similar question regarding the WWJD bracelet (even though I’ve worn a few down to threads).

      However, I think when Nouwen is talking about thinking with the mind of Christ – the closer we are to God, the more we understand (or, rather, trust) Him and therefore we can see more clearly what He would like us to do.

      But the more honest answer is – I don’t know.

  • Gingi Edmonds Freeman

    This book looks intriguing. I have been trying to find some “heavier” reading to dig deeper not only into God’s Word, but how to put His words to practical use in my life, my family and my community. I have been part of the Zondervan publishing book review program, but so far each book is kind of light and fluffy and surface scratching.. just theological baby food. I might have to check this book out… those are some heavy questions! <3 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    • I’m on Zondervan and BookLookBloggers (Thomas Nelson) programs as well 🙂 I know what you mean about theological baby food – which is why I usually read some fiction stuff there. (Although, my favorite theology book – God Who Smokes by Timothy Stoner – was a Zondervan one. Couldn’t resist the title and the author’s name. Turned out to be good stuff inside too, besides those two factors.)

      Henri Nouwen one is tiny (I’ve read it in three days, reading only during my way back home in the subway), but it sure packs a lot of theological meat. Also, if you’ve never read Nouwen, I highly recommend his other book, The Return of the Prodigal Son. (I think this is what it’s called in English… only read it in Russian for a class.)

      Thanks for stopping by, Gingi!

      • Gingi Edmonds Freeman

        I have no idea why, but reading Christian fiction is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand it!

        I’ll have to check out those authors, thanks for the recommendation! So what are you reading / reviewing now on Book Look? ^_^

        • Hahaha – a lot of Christian fiction is a watered-down stuff. However, I love Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee’s writings (they have both written separately as well as authoring a few books together).

          At the moment, I am catching up with my class reading, so trying not to get into the BookLook Bloggers website (otherwise I’ll get something). But I’ve read quite a few. The last one was Motherless by Erin Healy (I’ve read a few other by her too) – http://www.zenichka.com/2015/01/15/book-review-motherless-by-erin-healy/

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