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Breaking Through the Clouds
I Corinthians 2
If you’ve traveled much by air, you’ve probably all noticed how quickly the perspectives on our world can change. This is particularly obvious when we’ve been dealing with cloudy, rainy or snowy conditions for days prior to taking a flight. Just a few minutes after we have left the ground, our upward trajectory introduces us to an entirely different environment of dazzling light and seemingly endless visibility. Everything looks different from this perspective!
The same is true in the absence of cloudy conditions, at altitude we all perceive our world in an entirely different way. In his writings, the Apostle Paul often, in effect, spoke of life above the clouds. He was not alone, Peter, John and of course Jesus Himself spoke and lived in the assurance they derived from a “higher” perspective!
The passage before us today is just one instance in which we are challenged and invited to do the same. The Holy Spirit, in conjunction with the Scriptures, is God’s “means” to that end.
This journey is open to each one of us, in fact, we were created for this very thing!
The genesis of the struggle to gain “altitude” in our thinking comes from what I will call an “earth-centric” mindset. The natural mind (as incredible as it is) has suffered significant debilitation from its original design as indicated by Romans 8:7. In this instance, we are informed that the “carnal” (“fleshly”) mind is literally. “at war with God”. That it “is not subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can be.”
Sin has clearly taken a toll on our perceptions and placed us at odds with God’s Kingdom! Thankfully, there is a remedy! Just a few chapters further on we are given a lifeline to begin to restore us to our original potential as depicted in Adam and Eve.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2
This verse sets two processes at war with one another. “Conformed” means to “accommodate oneself to a model or pattern”, in this case, a worldly norm.
“Transformed” on the other hand, is identical to the word “transfigured” which was used to describe what happened to Jesus on a mountain where He was accompanied by Peter, James, and John. In that instance, Jesus appearance was altered and His identity confirmed. Heaven’s perspective was introduced through a sovereign act of God which forever changed the world view of all present!
As believers, we are COMMANDED to undertake this reversal of the fallen state of our minds. The goal is to have our minds “transformed.” This would, in effect, enable us to resume communion with God in order to experience and fully represent the realities of the Kingdom of God on this planet.
Pastor Bill Johnson once said three things that I feel summarize the concept:
The very important words of I Corinthians 2 are best understood when we place them in their historical context. The Apostle Paul is writing from the perspective he gained after his experience with the people of Athens.
Paul was, by any measure, a brilliant scholar and while visiting Athens he had crafted a message to appeal to the “seekers” of that highly intellectual and religious community. Logically, this “intelligent” approach should have worked. It may have provided a small measure of curiosity to the audience, but their tepid response was a shocking “eye opener” to this great man.
Sadly, he had failed to touch the lives of these openly religious “seekers” compared to all the places where the simple message of the Gospel and the power of God had enabled him to, in the words of his critics, “turn the world upside down!”
His words to the Corinthians reflected how shaken and resolved he was. He now knew for sure that only the power and presence of God could touch a human heart and effect change. (verses 1-5)
But he also, knew that continuing revelation and spiritual wisdom, the “hidden wisdom” not available to the world at large was being made available to believers! Without it, the religious leaders of the day did not “see” God’s Son and in their blindness crucified Him! That same blindness is, unfortunately, still epidemic today
Amazingly this “hidden” kind of wisdom Paul is alluding to can see what God sees:
This “hidden” kind of wisdom is received from the very mind of God and the person who finds it finds an alliance in His plans and purposes!
Verse 14 provides us with a “heads-up kind of reminder that we would be wise to bear in mind…
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
This “hidden wisdom” belongs to a class of people indwelt by the Spirit of God, but I think that it is a significant reminder to all of us, that as human beings the “natural man” can always re-assert itself to the point that our senses are dulled and we become “blinded” by what may begin to appear “foolish” to us when acquiescence to “worldly wisdom” is allowed to reassert itself!
The last verse in the chapter says;
…’Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? Who on Earth has anywhere near that kind of brainpower?
“BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST”
I don’t know about you, but to me, that opens up a massive world of possibilities and makes me want to listen to His voice and obey what I hear!