“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”
also with the same mind
“Mind” literally means to put in the mind. “Mind” is a particular manner or way of thinking, a disposition or manner of thought, an attitude. This word “mind” can mean purpose, intention, design. This word deals with forming motivations.
This particular word for “mind” is a rare term in the New Testament. The only other usage of this word in the New Testament is in Heb 4:12,
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
God’s Word discerns morally questionable motivations of our hearts.
We need to intentionally resolve to deal with suffering the way Jesus dealt with suffering. Jesus formed his motivations and unbendingly followed the will of God in undeserved suffering.
Orientation to suffering comes by developing the mind (motivation) of Christ.
Since we face a life-long battle with sin, we should deliberately arm ourselves with the motivation of Christ. With each occasion of suffering that comes our way, we need to form the motivational principle of Christ’s attitude toward suffering. When persecution comes to our mind, we maintain an unbending orientation to follow God.
We need to draw on the same resolution Jesus did toward undeserved suffering. God wants us to think as Jesus thought. This has to do with forming the intention or purpose of our thought life. If we accept identity with Christ, we accept the principle that sinning is no longer acceptable.
It is the Word of God that forms the motivations of our thinking (1 Pet. 1:13; Php 2:5; 1 Co 2:16). Every Christian has a built-in Bible teacher (the Holy Spirit) who makes the Word of God come alive to each situation. No non-Christian can think God’s thoughts after him because he does not have the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is a closed book to him. Christians, on the other hand, have the power to conquer sin by developing the mind of Christ. Much of the Christian life is a life of the mind and motivation.
If we do not have our gun loaded and the safety pin off, we will not get a shot off in our spiritual battle. In the military, a new recruit goes through hundreds of close-order drills. This changes his thinking into disciplined excellence. As Christians learn familiarity with our weapons and attitudes about how to use spiritual weapons, we form the attitude of Jesus.
We develop our attitudes the hard way as a young person develops toughness of mind in boot camp. There are times when we wonder whether it is worth it all. That is where some of us quit and make our first mistake. That is because we do not arm ourselves with the attitude that Jesus did about suffering. When we get into suffering we must use God’s thinking process. This is the stuff by which God blesses us in suffering.
If you are ever going to suffer for blessing, you must have a mental attitude when you are under pressure. When we live in jealousy, vindictiveness, implacability, and worry, all suffering is cursing. It is the attitude that makes it cursing.
We correct that attitude by confessing sin. When we are in fellowship, the cursing turns into a blessing. We can never harbor attitude sins and at the same time enjoy blessing in suffering. The longer we log attitude sins in our mind the greater the problem. It will be more difficult to reconcile as time goes on. The only thing that can break this momentum is confession, a shift into God’s way of thinking. “Father, I am implacable and am fighting you.”
It is one thing to confess sin and it is another thing to conquer that sin. We stabilize our Christian life with truth.