We have the mind of Christ is a phrase we can use or a reality we choose to try and live out each day. I prefer the latter. To understand how we live it we need to start with scripture.
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20–24 (NKJV)
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1–2 (NKJV)
In general, when I have heard the phrase ‘we have the mind of Christ’ used it is in reference to the idea that we as Christians have Christ’s mind. When thinking that through the idea is clearly not that simple. If we as believers all have the mind of Christ there would be no doctrinal issues in the church, we would all agree. Quite frankly, in my nearly four decades of Christian experience I can state emphatically that many of us frequently do not have the mind of Christ on a matter.
To understand how Paul expressed the concept we will look at the context and the meaning of the idea of having someone’s mind on something. A better expression might be perspective. We can see it when we plug it in and look at the Randy version, 16 For “who has known the perspective of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the perspective of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16.
My bible has a centre column reference for the verses from the Old Testament verses that Paul draws upon to say, ‘who has known the mind of the Lord?’ The verses are below.
8 Have you heard the counsel of God? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? Job 15:8 (NKJV)
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has taught Him? Isaiah 40:13 (NKJV)
The idea of counsel is just that the sharing of ideas, hearing the counsel of others to gain perspective. In context Paul was saying that in writing to the Corinthians he and Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 1:1) had determined Jesus’ perspective on the matters they had written to Paul asking about. It would be wonderful if Paul had added, ‘this is how we determined Jesus’ perspective.’ Obviously, Paul didn’t do that, at least not here.
For Part 1 I have raised the issue of the need for the perspective of Jesus, having His mind. I have also asserted that it is something we need to determine, not something we have by default as a believer. I do believe we have access, however, just as I may have food in the fridge or cupboard, it does me no good sitting there, I need to access it. In Part 2 I will get at the practical aspect of getting Jesus’ perspective on a matter – being renewed in the spirit of our minds and setting our minds on things above.