Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t put God in a box?” I have said this to many different people, and also to myself over the years. God is a God that is outside our understanding; our human minds cannot comprehend the depth and the riches of God. As I thought about this a scripture came into my heart. “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Paul is writing to the Corinthians about spiritual understanding. He tells us in 2:11 that “no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. He goes on to tell us that we have received the “Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us.” (vs. 12)
I have heard many pastors and teachers talk about the mind of Christ and what it means. But, the context that Paul is referring to is a different kind of “mind”. Most pastors and preachers will use Philippians 2:5-8 to define what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 2:16. That the mind that Christ had was one of humility, a mind that was willing to step down, a mind that did not exalt itself, but one that submitted to God and to the will and authority of God the Father. This is all true, and this mind is what Paul is referring to in Philippians 2:5-8. But, in 1 Corinthians 2:16 the mind that Paul is referring to is not that same mind.
The definition of “mind” in verse 16 means “to be furnished with the understanding of Christ, the capacity for spiritual truth, the faculty of perceiving divine things.” (Greek/ Hebrew Lexicon) It also refers to the perception we have of spiritual things. The mind of Christ that Paul is referring to is the understanding of God, the same mind that was in Christ while He was on earth is the same mind that we have been given. Why then do we struggle so desperately to understand and know spiritual things? If we have been given the mind of Christ, then should we not then understand the spiritual things of God?
Some of you are probably saying that we can only know through the Holy Spirit, and some things of God are just too high for us to understand. That is all true. But Paul tells us that we have been given the Spirit of God “that we might know the things that have been freely given to us.” (1 Cor. 2:12) When we seek understanding and wisdom, God tells us to come to Him; He will freely give to us what we ask. (James 1:5) The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to “come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) So then why do we struggle with spiritual things when they have clearly been given to us by God?
We say don’t put God in a box, but maybe we should not put ourselves in that same box. Paul tells us that we may “know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” We have understanding and knowledge because we have the mind of Christ. I think we take the meaning of what Paul is telling us out of context because we are scared of what stepping out of our comfortable box may mean. Yes, we should have the same mind that Christ has, one of humility, but the mind of Christ that Paul is referring to is a mind that is geared towards spiritual discernment, a mind that has the capacity to understand spiritual truths.
Jesus speaks to us of this mind that He has and tell us that we have it too. “All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:15) Jesus also tells us in John 15:15 that He no longer calls us servants, “for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” We have access, full and complete access to God the Father, the mind of Christ reveals to us the mind of God the Father because they are one in the same. Jesus says that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him and they dwell in us. (John 14:20) The mind of Christ is ours. We have been given the Spirit of God who reveals to us all the truths that we need to walk this walk of faith.
We have to stop putting ourselves in a box. We limit ourselves and our capacity for understanding spiritual things because we think we are unable to understand them. God wants us to know all things, He desires for us to understand the deep things of God, He desires for us to come to Him and ask, because He wants to give. Paul had great revelations and understood the deep things of God because he understood that the same Spirit- filled mind that was in Christ was in him as well. (Ephesians 3:3-4)
Paul tells us that the “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14) We are not the “natural man”. We have been given the mind of Christ. We seek understanding of His Word, we seek understanding and wisdom and guidance. Do we not realize that we have been given the access to get the answers we seek? Yet we hold ourselves back from going any farther; from really digging in and finding the truth that await us. Why? Because we are afraid of what that truth might reveal to us. We are afraid to step out of our comfortable box and go deeper. We are afraid that we might lose the security and safety we feel inside our boxes and have to do something with the knowledge we are given.
We say we are trying to understand God; we are trying to seek Him, but are we? Are we truly seeking the things of God or are we just seeking to know what is comfortable for us? Instead, we keep our hearts safe in the little boxes we have created to keep God in His place and us in our comfort zones. You have been given the mind of Christ when you gave your life to Him. He wants you to know all things that you desire about Him, He wants to reveal to you His true identity. The question is, are you willing to step out of your box long enough to find out what He desires you to know? We want truth, we desire life, we desire God, but when we have to take that next step, we hold back out of fear that we may lose the comforts of our own little worlds. But we have the mind of Christ. We are given the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Are you willing to step out of your box and find that truth?
Lord Jesus, help us to see your Word, to see You in all Your glory. You are God; You alone are able to reveal to us the riches of Your glory. Speak to our hearts, help us to tear down the walls of our boxes that we have built up, and guide us into the riches that You have prepared for us. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.