I hope you are enjoying our series on being transformed by the renewing of our minds ( Romans 12:2). Transformation is simply an exchange of life. It means we are showing forth and manifesting Christ's Life instead of our own. Scripture tells us that the only way we can do this is by the constant renewing of our minds; putting off the garbage in our own thinking and putting on the Mind of Christ.
The Mind of Christ is a divine seven-fold process of thinking that is bestowed upon each of us the moment we believe and accept Christ into our hearts ( 2 Corinthians 2:12-16). My understanding for this supernatural gift of God (the Mind of Christ) is Isaiah 11:1-2:
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots [this is Jesus, of course]: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, [that is] the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord."
We have shared in previous articles that the seven-fold Spirit of God that creates the Mind of Christ in us is like a Jewish Menorah. The Spirit of the Lord is like the trunk or the center core, and all the other supernatural functions branch out from it. (See Chart 7) It's the Holy Spirit's mission, with our consent, to produce the Mind of Christ in us, so that we can be transformed and live the truth.
What we're trying to do in this series of articles is not only to understand a little more clearly what each of these attributes or capabilities of the Mind of Christ are, but also how to appropriate them in our daily lives. The goal of our instruction is not to have more "head knowledge," but to have God's Wisdom (His Word) in our hearts become a living reality in our lives. As David Needham says in his book, Birthright, "The big task is not the finding of the truth, but the living of it." What good are God's principles if they really don't change our lives?
Last month we took a superficial look at the awesome subject of the Spirit of the Lord. In this article we want to examine God's Spirit of Wisdom and His Spirit of Understanding.
The Spirit of Wisdom
(Hebrew is Chockmah - Greek is Sophia)
The first function or operation of the Mind of Christ, produced by the Spirit of the Lord in us, is the Spirit of Wisdom. The Spirit of Wisdom is simply all of God's supernatural Thoughts that He has already placed in our hearts at our new birth. Hebrews 8:10 says that God inscribes or engraves His Word in our hearts. God's Wisdom is His supernatural intelligence-His secret knowledge. God's Wisdom is like a hidden "mystery" that can only be revealed by God's Spirit.
God's Wisdom is not a wisdom of the world, because it can't be bought, it can't be studied for, or earned. There are many highly intelligent men who have exhaustive knowledge of the world's wisdom, but are completely ignorant of God's Wisdom, His Thoughts and His Word. Job 32:9 says, "Great men are not always wise:..."
God's Wisdom is the foundation of our lives and the basis upon which the rest of our spiritual "house" will be built. Proverbs 24:3 validates this when it says, "through wisdom a house is built..." So, whether we realize it or not, God's Word (His Wisdom) must be our sustenance, our nourishment, our food, and our life's bread.
"Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone"
A few years ago, while having my coffee and toast and reading my morning newspaper, God spoke to my heart and said, "you give the best part of your day to your toast and the newspaper, what about Me?" Then, He brought to mind Matthew 4:4 which says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." As a result of this exhortation, I did a study of what it means to "live by God's Word" and I found that it means we are not just to dabble in and taste His Word, but we are to literally exist by it. In other words, only as we allow the Word of God to go down into our innermost part and begin to change and transform our lives, will we ever truly experience what Scripture means when it says, "Thy Words were found, and I did eat them." (Jeremiah 15:16)
In these end times, we can't afford to only "taste" God's Word because then we won't be able to stand against the wiles of the enemy and all the events of the last days. I truly believe that we grow only in proportion to the daily diet of God's Word that we are "eating." I know personally that my daily actions are largely determined by the amount of time I spent in the Word that day. Only in reading and eating God's Word will I be reminded to put off the garbage in my own thinking and put on the Mind of Christ. Then, I'll be "ready" and "prepared" for whatever God allows into my life.
Our life literally depends upon our daily eating God's Word. "...Faith cometh [how?] by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)
"If Any Lack Wisdom"
If any of you are having trouble disciplining yourself to read and hear from God daily, I would suggest getting a good daily Bible reading plan. There are many excellent ones available at any Christian bookstore. Before you begin to read, pray and ask God to show you what He specifically wants you to see and understand at that particular time. If you don't find anything right away, keep on reading until you come away with something especially for you-even if it's just one verse.
A good suggestion: read at least three chapters a day-one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament and one from Psalms or Proverbs. Then as you are seeking God and His Wisdom for your particular situation, you can listen for His answer in your daily reading.
Another suggestion: take any subject that you are interested in and do a word study on it throughout the Bible. For example: if you are having marital difficulties, then do a study on "marriage," "love," "divorce," etc. Do a study on children, husbands, jobs, careers, goals, purposes, money, etc. This is exactly how The Way of Agape and Be Ye Transformed began.
It's critical to keep on "investigating" new and different ways to be excited about God's Word. Remember, we exist only by His Word! "Unless thy law (His Word) had been my delight, I should have perished in mine affliction." (Psalm 119:92) I think of God's "written" Word as a translation of the "inscribed" Word (Jesus) that's already in my heart. The more I understand the written Word, the more I will understand the living Word (Jesus) who lives in my heart. So, the entire Bible is God's written Wisdom and it's something I totally believe in and receive into my heart. However, I don't always understand, perceive or grasp some of the Scripture's full meaning. As Proverbs 1:21 says, wisdom is just the entrance to the city (the opening of the gates). In other words, wisdom is just the first step...to understanding...and then to knowledge, etc.
The Spirit of Understanding
(Hebrew is Binah - Greek is Sunesis)
Isaiah 11:2 tells us that the next function or operation produced by the Spirit of God, giving us the Mind of Christ, is the Spirit of Understanding. Just because we have God's Wisdom written and inscribed in our hearts does not necessarily mean that we'll understand that Wisdom. This is a whole other step.
The Spirit of Understanding is God's supernatural revelation-His secret insights to His Word. Understanding simply means a "putting together" or a comprehending or a grasping of His Word. The Spirit of God illuminates our hearts and gives us understanding of His Wisdom. In other words, He "turns on the lights for us."
How many times have you sat down and read God's Word, gotten up and not remembered a thing you read? Well, God's Spirit of Understanding was not operating.
"Written in the Sand"
Often, in preparing for my classes, I would come across something that I had no supernatural understanding of at all. As I would pray for God's enlightenment, eventually (in God's timing and in His way), the "lights" would go on.
On one occasion, when I was out riding my horse in the hills above our home, the insight (the understanding) to something that I had been struggling with for a long time just clicked in and the "lights went on." Past history has taught me, however, that unless I immediately write down what the Lord is showing me, I won't remember it. If it's a supernatural revelation from God, then it's not something that is registered in my own mind yet.
On this particular occasion, I knew I had to write down what God was showing me or I would lose it. When I ride horseback, however, I ride "English style," with britches that obviously have no pockets or any place to carry pencil or paper. So, I stopped my horse, got off, cleared a place in the sand and dirt, and scribbled what God was saying to me with a stick. Later, feeling rather silly, I drove my four-wheel drive jeep back up the hill and copied my notes. This is a true story! I know myself-I know if I don't write down the supernatural wisdom and understanding that God is giving me, I'll lose it. I'll bet it's the same for you!
Often when I'm in the shower, supernatural revelations and answers pop into my mind to questions that I've been asking God about for months. I don't know what it is about running water, but it seems that that's when God often opens my understanding. Again, so I won't forget it, I'll get out of the shower dripping wet, tippy-toe to where I can find a pencil and paper and write down what God has shown me. See, I know it's not "me" that has "turned on the lights" at that moment, but God's Spirit of Understanding.
What good is God's Wisdom (His Word), without our being able to understand it and apply it to our lives? Psalm 119:27 is a good prayer, "Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works." The point is, we must have God's understanding of His Wisdom before we can begin to apply it to our lives and before we can pass it on to others.
Reading God's Word
One of the reasons I believe so many Christians are stumbling and falling today is because of "ignorance." We've spoken about this before. Ignorance not only as to what the Word of God says and requires of us, but also ignorance about ourselves (understanding our own real motives, our own wrong dependencies, our own misconceived priorities, and so on). As we read God's Word, it's the Spirit of Understanding that will reveal and expose these things so that we can "deal" with them. When we don't read the Word and the Spirit of Understanding is not allowed to operate, then we won't be able to see or find our way. Hosea 4:14 says "...people that do not understand shall fall."
All of us have God's written Wisdom lying in our laps, but many of us, because of busyness, distractions, hurts, unbelief, and other self-centered thoughts and emotions, don't take the time to sit at God's feet, listen and hear what He wants us to say to us. Instead, we depend upon what we think and feel, what others are telling us and what our circumstances are. Consequently, when God allows "trials" in our lives, we don't understand what He requires of us, nor how to act. Thus, we end up falling before we even begin.
"Through Wisdom is a house builded; and by Understanding it is established: [But] by Knowledge shall all the chambers be filled." (Proverbs 24:3-4)
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This article was excerpted from Nan's new book, Be Ye Transformed. The companion Personal Application Workbook is also available.