Memo 988: A Kingdom Mind
Let's continue the Unlocking the Power of Your Thinking series, this week returning to the New Testament where we once again find Jesus addressing His disciples' thinking. We read in Acts 1:3-6:
During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” (NLT).
We first see Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom in Matthew 4:17: "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." As He prepares to depart, He was still teaching and talking about the Kingdom. Yet it seems that the disciples didn't quite "get" it, for we see them asking, "Has the time come for you to free Israel and restore the kingdom?" Jesus answered them by directing them back to His promise: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere" (Acts 1:8). The Spirit was the key to unlock their thinking and He is the key for us as well. Let's examine what that means to see what lessons we can learn.
THE MIND SET ON THE SPIRIT
Paul wrote these words to the Romans:
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God (Romans 8:5-8, NLT).
Paul indicated "letting the Spirit control your mind" produces life and peace." What does it mean for the Spirit to control our mind? Are we simply radio towers that receive and then broadcast heavenly spiritual thoughts? Is it a description of the familiar scene in movies where the devil is perched on one shoulder whispering into our ears while God is on the other shoulder doing the same? Do all our thoughts have their origin in one spiritual source or the other?
Let's go back to Acts 1. Those men had been with Jesus for more than three years and they had just experienced a 40-day crash-course post-Resurrection overview of Jesus' Kingdom principles. Yet they still did not understand for they asked Him a political question about Israel being freed from Rome's control. When the Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, then they understood it all and could share it with power to interested listeners.
When the Spirit came, the disciples had the power and a new intellectual capacity to comprehend what Jesus had taught and shown them. Peter's sermon in Acts 2 explained Jesus, exalted Jesus, taught Jesus, demonstrated Jesus. The sermon clearly outlined that Jesus was the King of the Kingdom: “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” (Acts 2:36). They did not preach against Rome, lay out a new Law, or preach holiness. The Spirit focused their thoughts and minds on Jesus.
What does this teach us? It teaches that the Spirit does not wish to control every thought, but to impart a new operating system that is Kingdom-minded which is all about Jesus—not about Jesus and politics, or Jesus and my career, or Jesus and my investments. There cannot be Jesus and anything else. It is only about Jesus. That was why the disciples had to wait for the Spirit. Otherwise, their presentation would have lacked proper focus. It is easy to say it's all about Jesus, but Jesus knew better. That's why He told His disciples they would have to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Him. That was what the Kingdom was all about.
What is on your mind? Is it how lonely you are? Are you asking why you aren't married or why you don't have a better job? I am not demeaning your loneliness or your poverty, but the Spirit comes to give you the mind of Christ about Christ and what that means for your daily life. Thoughts controlled by the sinful nature are "self" thoughts, while thoughts of the Spirit are about Jesus and His purpose and plan for your life that may or may not include spouse, children, Wall Street riches, or living where you want to live.
The Kingdom has a King and He is supreme—or "Lord of all" to put it in biblical terms. I urge you to invite the Spirit into your mind not to control your every thought, but to impart the proper foundation of the Kingdom that will enable you to evaluate your thoughts more effectively. When you do that, your old nature will no longer control your mind and you will be free to think the thoughts of God that will direct you where to work, what to do, and how to be a person of purpose. Have a blessed week!