Tuesday mornings begin early for me as I hook up with about 8 guys at 7 AM at a Starbucks on NYU’s campus in Greenwich Village. They say that New York is the city that never sleeps- not quite true. New Yorkers stay up late- and consequently, the morning rush doesn’t begin until at about 8 AM. So a 7 AM meeting can be challenging for New Yorkers.
My commute begins at 6:30 with a 1/3 mile walk, followed by a subway ride, and then another 1/3 mile walk. Still adjusting to life without a car. They are just unlocking the doors to the Starbucks when I arrive. Most of us stayed up too late the night before. One of my friends told me that he often sits down to dinner around 11:00 PM. So coffee is indispensible as we sit around the table and dive into our discussion of 1 Corinthians.
We have only been at this for a month, but it has been very enriching. We take a passage every week, all commit to reading it each day and taking some time to reflect on it We are also all reading the same commentary. By the time we get together, there is a lot to share. I realize that in many respects, learning the Bible in this way is so much more powerful and potentially life-changing than listening to someone give a message, no matter how great the teacher is. The ability to interact about a portion of Scripture as we have each wrestled with it personally, struggled to personalize and apply it, and placed ourselves in a position each day to be taught by God’s Spirit creates a dynamic learning environment. So far each week, when I listen to my friends describe their encounter with the text and with God, I learn things that I did not see in my own study. It’s definitely been worth getting up “early”.
This past week, a phrase at the end of 1 Corinthians 2 really penetrated my heart deeply. After contrasting worldly wisdom and wisdom that comes from God, Paul makes the assertion that “we have the mind of Christ”. What does it mean for me to have the mind of Christ? Here are some of my thoughts so far in answer to that question.
I know the mind of Craig. That mind directs what I do. I experience the world through my senses, evaluate what I experience, and filter it all through my values and beliefs. My mind has been formed by thousands of life experiences as well- good and bad. And then there’s the reality of my fallen condition. The Bible is clear that there still exists in my forgiven and redeemed person a thing called my “flesh”. All of these things are somehow mysteriously involved as my mind directs how I respond. Evil forces are also at work, exerting an influence on my mind. So…in any given moment, my behavior, my attitudes, my emotions are the product of all these things processed through my mind. This helps explain why I, like Paul (see 1 Cor 7have the repeated experience of doing the things I do not want to do, and not doing the things I do want to do. Sounds schizophrenic. Is there a way out? Paul’s answer to that questions is…Jesus.
What about the mind of Christ? Can my sensory experiences and thoughts be filtered through his mind, thus directing a different set of behaviors? I may have the mind of Christ, but knowing that as a fact hasn’t eliminated the mind of Craig from influencing and directing a whole lot of bad thoughts and behaviors. How do I access Christ’s mind?
As I thought about this, I came up with a little experiment. I am in the midst of trying it out, and so will wrap this up for now. In my next blog I will write about my experience as I attempt to not just have, but to access or utilize the mind of Christ.