1 Corinthians 2:8-16
8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.(ESV, emphasis added)
The Bible occasionally says things that are so outside our assumed reality grid that we often just bypass them rather than explore the full implications of what has been said. “But we have the mind of Christ” is one of those mind blowing, grid expanding statements. Why is this statement so difficult to face? Simply because I know my own mind. I’ve experienced my own thoughts. I certainly hope Jesus’ mind is better than the one I live with every day.
I don’t think Paul is suggesting that by default every thought that pops into the mind of every believer is Jesus’ thought. Common sense rules that out as a possible meaning. So, what does it mean then for me to have the mind of Christ? Let’s look at the context. In verse 9 Paul discusses what we don’t know. “…no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Man doesn’t have access to accurate information regarding the goodness God has laid up for those who’s hearts belong to him. We just can’t access that information. Or can we?
Verse 10 tells us that the Holy Spirit is the one who has access to that information. And the good news? The Holy Spirit reveals them to us. Reveals what? Well, contextually it would have to be the good things God has prepared for those who love him. How does the Spirit know these things? Paul then uses the analogy regarding our experience as humans. Others don’t have access to our own thoughts. Only we do. Only the spirit of a person has access to the thoughts of a person. Likewise, only the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God. Again – what thoughts is he talking about specifically? God’s thoughts regarding all the good he wants to do for those who love him. So how do we have access to these thoughts? The same Spirit who has acces to God’s thoughts because he is the Spirit of God lives in us. We are joined with the one who has access to God’s thoughts.
But how do we access that which we now have access to? How do we perceive the thoughts of God the Spirit of God who lives in us has access to? The key is in verse 14. The natural man is unable to receive the things of God. What is a “natural man”? The Greek word ispsuchikos. It’s root is psuche, the word four “soul”. The soul of man is comprised of three interacting and related parts – the mind, emotions, and will. So a “natural man” is a man governed by his own soul, by what he thinks, feels, and wants. This is the kind of man who is unable to receive the things of God. This is the kind of man who is unable to access the information the Spirit of God has access to in the mind of God regarding the good he wants to do for those who love him. So, to access the mind of Christ, to receive the things of the Spirit that can only be received in a spiritual manner, I must first NOT be a psuchikos. I must NOT be a person governed by what I think, feel, and want. It seems I can either be governed by my own mind or his. I can’t serve two masters. I wonder how many people struggle to hear God because they’ve never really come to terms with their need to surrender.