What does “we have the mind of Christ” mean?

George Washington Carver
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Have you ever wondered what that little nugget tucked in 1 Corinthians 2:16 means…the one that says “for we have the mind of Christ”?

Would you prefer to listen to this teaching?

Let’s look at  the NLT “For,

“Who can know the LORD’s thoughts?

Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”

“We have the mind of Christ,” what does that mean?

Isaiah 55:8 ESV For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We understand that is very true, but why is He telling us that?”

3Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;” 

In the context of these Scriptures, God is saying, “Listen. Pay attention and really hear. I want to show you a better way to think and live. I want to show you my ways and my thoughts.

Your Mind is a Processing Plant

We understand that our mind is a processing plant just like our stomach processes and digest food. Your mind processes thoughts and ideas that enter through your ears, eyes, smells, taste and emotions.

Your mind assigns values and meaning to each of your thoughts. But could there be another source of your thoughts?

“For we have the mind of Christ…

do you think…there’s that word again…think…but do you believe that since the Spirit of God lives in you that He could actually share His thoughts with you?

John 14:25, NLT I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

How does Holy Spirit teach us?


That’s why I’ve been telling you for 20 days, renew your mind with God’s Word. It is powerful because it is God’s Word. The Bible is God’s Love Letter to you. It is His will and covenant and it never changes. It is the only book that you will never understand unless you know the author.

He also speaks to our spirit. 

Acts 8:29 NLT The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

He didn’t find that specific instruction in the Bible, it was God’s Spirit talking to him.

Holy Spirit hasn’t stop talking. 

Jesus says in John 16:12-13 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 2. Let’s start reading at verse 6.

6Yet when I am among mature believers, I DO speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 

7No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of Godc—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.

 8But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,

and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared

for those who love him.”

10But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 

11No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 

12And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truth 

14But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 

15Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

 16For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts?

Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

If God’s Spirit is in you…He can inspire your thoughts. 

Let me tell you about a man that lived the reality of listening to the “mind of Christ.” 

cotton ball on plant
for we have the mind of Christ

Cotton was king in the South. It was the primary cash crop throughout the South. But cotton is a hungry thief that strips away the soil’s nutrients. Landowners, anxious to repeat their monetary success, planted their fields with King Cotton year after, but the poor soil could only grow poor crops. The final death-blow to King Cotton was a little bug, the boll weevil with an appetite for cotton blooms and cotton buds. By 1920 every area in the US was infested with boll weevils that devastated the industry and the people working in the American South.

Meanwhile, God was preparing a giant of a man.

George Washington Carver, a small, frail black professor with a master’s degree arrived at Tuskegee Institute in 1896 to teach agriculture to students. His motive for leaving his position at Iowa State was  “the one great ideal of my life [is] to be of the greatest good to the greatest number of ‘my people,’” 

His daily habit was to get out of bed at 4:00 in the morning. Prayer for Mr. Carver was a precious visit with a dear friend. He would walk through the woods at that early hour and talk with God. “There He gives me my orders for the day”, he said. God talked with Mr. Carver as he gathered specimens to take to his laboratory. He asked God questions and God answered them. One of Mr. Carver’s favorite stories to tell was a conversation he had with God.

“’Dear Mr. Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for.’ The Great Creator answered, ‘You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask for something more your size.’ Then I asked, “Dear Mr. Creator tell me what man was made for.’ Again the Great Creator replied, ‘Little man, you are still asking too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’ So then I asked, “Please Mr. Creator will you tell me why the peanut was made?’”

And God answered his question.

Mr. Carver worked and God whispered secrets, ideas and uses for the peanut. But equally important, he discovered that growing peanuts enriches the soil. Not only did he teach students, but once a week he invited the local farmers. He encouraged them to plant peanuts to enrich their soil. But the only thing most of them did with peanuts was to feed them to their livestock. To think of eating a peanut was laughable. Mr. Carver began to share what he had learned. Mr. Carver discovered dozens and eventually hundreds of uses for the humble goober. He wrote a pamphlet “How to Grow the Peanut, and 105 Ways of Preparing It for Human Consumption.” God used his humble servant George Washington Carver to revolutionize agriculture and the economy of the South.

“I never have to grope for methods.

The method is revealed at the moment I am inspired to create something new… Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless.”

 “God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the ways of doing it are revealed to me.”

“There is literally nothing that I ever asked to do, that I asked the blessed Creator to help me to do, that I have not been able to accomplish.”

“Marvel of marvels, how I wish I had you in God’s little workshop for a while, how your soul would be thrilled and lifted up.”

 “How I thank God every day that I can walk and talk with Him. Just last week I was reminded of His omnipotence, majesty, and power through a little specimen of mineral sent to me for analysis, from Bakersfield, California.

I thank God for Mr. Carver and for the inventions that God gave him.

Meanwhile, it is crucial that we understand he simply grasped the truth found in 1 Corinthians 2:9,10 again.

George Washington Carver

9That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,

and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared

for those who love him.”

10But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 

God wants to show you His deep secrets.

Mr. Carver walked with God, asked questions, listened and followed through on what he heard with hard work.

Maybe you’re thinking, “God doesn’t talk to me like that.”

There are hundreds, even thousands, of radio waves with songs, information and conversations being transmitted around you right now. In order to hear them you must have a receiver that is tuned to the right frequency. In order to hear God you need to tune in to hear Him speak.

I can’t give you a number to call or a location on your radio so you can hear from God, because He speaks to your Spirit. When He speaks your mind understands it as a thought. Sometimes you’re good idea is actually a God idea. He talks to you out of relationship…just like a good friendship develops as you both share your heart with each.

God talks to you. So, learn to listen.

Here are some suggestions to help you hear what God is saying to you.

  • Believe God wants to and will talk to you.
  • Expect Him to talk to you.
  • Listen for His voice when you read Scripture or pray.
  • Keep a notebook handy when you pray/read to write down any thoughts that come to your mind. I’ve found that simply giving diligence to what I hear by writing it down allows me to be aware of more things that He is whispering to me.
  • He can talk to you anywhere and at any time, so be aware.
  • Sometimes it will be a strong feeling or it can be a gentle knowing. You don’t know how you know what you know, you just know it is true. Test those promptings wisely.

More articles on the subject.

Big Take Away– Expect and listen for God to talk to you. Write down what He says. Obey Him.

This article is part of a series on what the Bible says about your thoughts.

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