What the Bible says about
Attaining God's Mind
(From Forerunner Commentary)
The word for "sign" in verse 9 is 'owth, which can be translated as signal, flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, mark, miracle, sign, or token. The word for "memorial" is zikrown, meaning memorable thing, reminder, remembrance. If we change "sign" to one of the other translations, it puts this section in a new light. For instance, 'owth can be translated as "prodigy," which means "something extraordinary"!
Verse 9 could be paraphrased, then, "And this observance of the days of Unleavened Bread shall be something extraordinary for you to do, to make a memorable impression on your mind so that the law of God can be written in your hearts."
How do we look at the Days of Unleavened Bread? Are they merely a week of yearlyritual participation, or do we vicariously take part in events that are extraordinarily remarkable and force us to our knees before the Eternal? Are we making sure that these days fulfill the promise that they have in our lives so that His mind becomes ours?
An Extraordinary Feast
Seeking God makes the heart live. How many times have we seen heart, spirit, mind, and thoughts in the same context? Is that not what we want in this relationship with God? We want our heart to live. What is it that makes it live? It is the Spirit of God energizing it because of the close communion.
A biblical example of this is when Moses went up on the mount to be with God for forty days and forty nights. While he was gone, the Israelites made the Golden Calf. When Moses came down from that close association with God, he came down with his face glowing, shining, reflecting the glory of God through close communion with Him all those days. This situation is a form of what the psalmist means about the close communion with God. Seeking Him, dressing and keeping the relationship, and submitting to Him are what make the heart live because His Spirit is flowing into it. When that happens, we are living the life He lives, what the Bible calls "eternal life." Eternal life is to live as God lives.
We are seeking to have a relationship with One who is not far from us. He is close to us—in us by His Spirit—and He delights to pour Himself into our hearts and minds. We seek Him through desire. Do we really want this One to be our Husband? Do we really want to be like this One we are to marry? If we do not desire Him, He will not reciprocate with any zeal, and the relationship will just sputter. We seek Him by turning our thoughts to Him by communion in prayer and in Bible study.
The desire to be like Him in every way drives our submission to Him in obedience. We are in the midst of a courtship. Can there be any passing of spirit when one is so far from the other that desire is completely absent? Desire rises when we know Him so well that we are constantly thinking about all His wonderful attributes.
This is not a "cure-all" for every spiritual problem. As Christ's letters to the Ephesian and Laodicean churches show, it was so important to Him that He threatened both groups with destruction. One had lost their first love, and the other was complacent. Neither was close to Him.
Are we attracted enough to Him to be affectionate toward Him?
Spending time in fervent communion with God in prayer, Bible study, meditation, and occasional fasting all lead to a pure submission to Him. It enhances the closeness. It is essentially the same process that brings human beings together—talking and experiencing things together as we go through life.
A fervent attitude of sincerely wanting to be like God will bring a positive response. The principles are simple and are as old as the hills. They work because that is how spirit is transferred to create oneness. That is why people marry one another. The same principle and process work in our courtship with Christ.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part Seven)
1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Because Christianity has the unfortunate reputation of being a religion for the simple, the apostle Paul's comments in I Corinthians 1:26-29 are often misunderstood and misapplied.
In a sense, Paul's words are a snapshot in time; they only describe the reality of the situation when God calls us. Moreover, they are generalities—the norm—to which there are always exceptions. Paul himself was certainly no intellectual lightweight. Early Christian history has several traditions of converts among the Emperor's court, senators' families, and various high-born houses both in Rome and abroad. Still, generally, God calls His potential children from the middle to lower classes of the great mass of humanity.
Since such are our likely origins, our question must then be: "Does God want us to remain foolish, weak, base, despised, and nothing?" No! He desires us to be humble and think of ourselves as nothing, but He does not want us to remain in the spiritual, mental, and emotional conditions from which He has called us. He is working in us so that we can eventually become wise, mighty, noble, glorified, and something humanly incomprehensible.
Anyone reading the Bible should be able to realize that God's every instruction is designed to promote spiritual growth (Malachi 4:2; Ephesians 4:15-16; II Peter 3:18; etc.). Stagnation and backsliding are anathema to God (for instance, Jeremiah 3; Hebrews 6:4-8; II Peter 2:20-22). How often does God say something to the effect that those who do not grow and produce fruit will be pruned, and if they still do not produce, they will be cut down and burned in the fire (John 15:1-8)? God creates and produces, and He wants to see His children do the same.
If God has made us in His likeness, and He is creating His Son's image in us, is it not reasonable to believe that God wants us to learn to think like His Son? In fact, Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:16 that we already have the mind of Christ! He means that by God's Spirit, given to us after baptism, we can begin to think and evaluate as Christ does (see also Philippians 2:5-8). If God expects us to learn to think like Christ, a great deal of growth in our ability to think must occur.
True Christianity is a thinking-person's religion! The doctrines of God may be simple in their fundamental principles, but they are almost inexhaustibly profound in their particulars and ramifications. Applying God's instruction to any situation requires careful and deliberate thought. Paul says, "[T]he Holy Scriptures . . . are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. . . . [They are given] that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:15, 17). Serious study, meditation, and prayer require deep thought.
Additionally, as Christ's return nears, only the truly thoughtful—the deep thinkers—will be able to see through the cloud of deception Satan and his agents will produce (Matthew 24:24; Revelation 12:9). Thus, Peter warns us: "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers" (I Peter 4:7).
God gives Ezekiel a striking vision in which water running from God's Temple is measured every thousand cubits. It is at first ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, and finally too deep to stand in (Ezekiel 47:1-5). Such is the knowledge that flows from God. As we progress in understanding, the depth of God's revelation increases proportionately until we are literally swimming in the limitless expanse of God's mind! It can be overwhelming, but it is also exhilarating and mind-expanding that God has opened such knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to us.
No matter how deeply we have waded into the "water," more depth awaits. We can never plumb its bottom. But is it not satisfying—and rewarding—and right—to try?
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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