In Paul's letter to the Romans, he writes, "...the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring -- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16 NIV). This verse best sums up Paul's illustration of Abraham as making a case that our righteousness is by faith. But, what does this have to do with living with the mind of Christ?
The mind of Christ reflects faith; it does not create faith. Faith is a gift from God to be stewarded and cultivated. The mind can reason and express what faith looks like. It is a useful and brilliant servant, but it is not a good leader. Reading further into Romans 4, we find Abraham remaining strong in his faith, even though he "faced the fact that his body was as good as dead..." (Romans 4:19 NIV). When Abraham was not lead by faith, but lead by his mind, he produced an Ishmael. When he remained steadfast in the promise of God, he produced an Isaac. At first Abraham focused on lack, but he did not continue focusing on lack. He repented and began to focus on God, who could fulfill His promise. "He [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God" (Romans 4:20 NIV). Faith helps us see the promise of God and trust in God; and the mind of Christ helps us mature, express and fulfill the promise of God.
Jesus used leaven as a metaphor for beliefs. He talks about the leaven of Herod (political spirit - political influence - fear of man - control - manipulation), the leaven of the Pharisees (religious spirit - knowledge without experience - fear of man - control) and the leaven of the Kingdom (faith - intimacy - power - freedom - grace - justice - faithfulness - love - hope - peace). Leaven influences what we think, how we think and what we believe about reality. Miracles or heavenly ecosystems that enforce their superiority over natural ecosystems, are both an invasion and expression of God's kindness; and also an invitation to something new. Miracles are what happen when the leaven of the Kingdom of God touches natural and impossible situations. The leaven of the Kingdom is not meant to be a "one and done" lifestyle, but an experience and a new normal that we receive as heirs; not visitors. The mind of Christ faces impossible situations, thinks what heaven thinks, thinks how heaven thinks and declares the supernatural as our inheritance. A significant truth that must under-gird this position is what Paul wrote of Abraham, "Without weakening in his faith..." (Romans 4:19 NIV). All too often, you and I face challenging and daunting circumstances that solicit overwhelming fear and uncertainty. In those moments our faith grows weak and anemic because the unrenewed mind is looking at our circumstances with logic and reason, but not with faith. Why does our reasoning start with what we don't have? How can we live in the realm of faith and at the same time give place and value to what others think, even if those "others" are circumstances, past failures and not just negative people? It's paramount that we live with an ear that hears heaven; that hears what Holy Spirit is saying. John 16:13 is exciting. Ponder these words from Jesus, "But when he, the Spirit of Truth [Holy Spirit] comes, he will guide you into all truth. he will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (NIV). When Holy Spirit speaks, He is releasing Kingdom inheritance, wisdom, power and life.
So when you and I face difficulties, national catastrophes, painful situations, confusing and complicated matters, do not begin with the leaven of Herod or the leaven of the Pharisees. Begin with the leaven of the Kingdom. Which is to say, begin with the mind of Christ which is not weakened in faith, but strengthened in faith; giving glory to God. It's possible because....
1. We are a joyful people rooted in the goodness and love of God.
2. We are a hopeful people rooted in the kindness of God, knowing that nothing is impossible with God.
3. We are a triumphant people who do not fight for victory, but through worship, prayer and action enforce the victory of Christ.
4. We are a significant people because Christ revealed our worth, adopted us into His family, reconciled us to the Father, given us Holy Spirit and commissioned us to advance His kingdom with signs and wonders.