The Consecration Of Our Mind
Edited from a message by Walter Beuttler

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice." Romans 12:1

When the children of Israel brought a "voluntary offering" to the Lord, they were to lay the head of the offering upon the altar. This speaks to us of the consecration of our mind.

"And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar." Leviticus 1:8

In the second chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he contrasts two kinds of minds; the natural mind, and the spiritual mind. The natural mind is a mind darkened to spiritual things, however brilliant it might be in its own natural sphere.

It is possible, to be a child of God and yet, be largely dominated by the laws of the natural mind. The need for a spirit-enlightened mind is emphasized by Paul's prayer for the Ephesians.

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know." Ephesians 1:17, 18a

The knowledge of spiritual things does not come by intellectual effort. Rather, it comes only by revelation. Simple minded, and humble people receive things which are hid from the wise and prudent.

"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes." Matthew 11:25

God complained in Hosea's day, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6a). He was not speaking of a lack of "secular " knowledge, but of a lack of the "spiritual" knowledge of God. It is one thing to know about God, yet quite another thing to know God. Just as it is one thing to know about a popular person, and quite another thing to personally know that person.

Men can store up theological facts in their minds, while the God of these facts may mean little more to them than subject matter. Not yielding their minds to be illuminated by the Holy Spirit, they fail to experience a transformation in their manner of thinking. This illumination can only take place as the Holy Spirit "renews" their minds, without which they are incapable of proving " What is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2b).

The thoughts and ways of God are diametrically opposed to what is called "common sense."

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

The natural mind can be a troublemaker, especially in the realm of the spirit. It intrudes into a sphere in which it has no part, and tries to insert the authority of its own logic into a realm in which it has no qualification.

"The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:14

The unspiritual mind of the unspiritual man has done, and is still doing incalculable damage to the cause of the Lord in His Church. The man with the unspiritual mind is not satisfied with the Scriptural regulation of what are commonly called the "Gifts of the Spirit." Therefore, he makes his own judgment regarding the authoritative criterion of the working of the Holy Spirit, until he regulates the "Gifts of the Spirit" out of the Church.

Having become wise in his own conceit, the unspiritual man substitutes for, and finally denies, the spiritual operations and manifestations of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which brought into being the movement of which he has "nominally" become a part. He will substitute feasting for fasting, ritual for life, entertainment for visitation, popularity for the cross, compromise for courage, and human psychology for spiritual discernment. He will present Christianity as sugar instead of salt, and solicit the praise of men, rather than the honor of God.

In searching the Word of God for the knowledge of His ways, in contrast to those of our own ways, we find that:

l. GOD DOES NOT LIMIT HIMSELF TO MAN'S CHOICE.

In the call and commissioning of an instrument, God is not restricted to the choice of human judgment, which may be based upon a consideration of "observable qualifications," or the appeal to the human eye, as in the case of Eliab.

"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him." I Samuel 16:6

God, in His superior wisdom and knowledge, may by-pass the most likely choice of man, and instead, reach out for an instrument, which man would reject.

In the selection of a King for Israel, God regarded neither experience, rank, nor seniority rights. He chose the youngest instead of the eldest, a stripling with a heart for God, in preference to a man with an attractive countenance and impressive stature. Eliab appeared to be the right choice, but he was rejected by the Lord.

"For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." I Samuel 16:7b

Appearances may be deceitful, and our own understanding inadequate, wherefore, we are admonished to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding " (Proverbs 3:5).

2. GOD DOES NOT LIMIT HIMSELF TO MAN'S METHODS.

This principal is dramatically set forth in the taking of Jericho (Joshua 6). Being a walled city, it defied any natural means at the disposal of the Israelites. The instructions, which Joshua received for its conquest, were utterly unorthodox. God did not send him the latest textbooks on military science. Instead, He gave Joshua instructions, which were, from a natural point of view, ridiculous.

The Israelites were to compass the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, concluding with shouting and the blowing of trumpets. Textbook methods would have called for a certain number of scaling ladders, battering rams, and the like. God's method called for an obedient faith, regardless of the outrageous affront to the "common sense" reasoning of the natural mind.

3. GOD DOES NOT LIMIT HIMSELF TO MAN'S MEANS.

The inadequacy of man's own means, in contrast to those of God, is taught throughout the Bible. It is indelibly written on the pages of the history of the Church, and constantly demonstrated in experience. Yet man still prefers the glitter and polish of his own equipment, to the humble simplicity of God's provision. It is so easy to forget that the Lord's battles are not won by the might of numbers, nor by the power of human means, but by the "Spirit of the Lord."

An outstanding New Testament example of the employment of humble means by God is the Bible School of which a lowly Nazarene was its principal. He was unknown, and came from an unpopular district. His supposed father was but an ordinary carpenter. He himself had neither theological nor academic training. In selecting Him, God bypassed all the graduates of the rabbinical schools of the day. This God-appointed, academically unqualified principal told skeptical inquirers repeatedly that He could do nothing of Himself, and that He was dependent upon His Father for all that He did and taught.

The school, of which He was both principal and instructor, and at times the cook, had an enrollment of twelve students. They had no prior religious training or experience. Some were but crude fishermen. One of the twelve failed. He was a thief and committed suicide before graduation. Another cursed and swore in his senior year.

Who today would suggest that we should follow these same standards? Nevertheless, their significance serves to show the lowly means, which God used to bring about events that profoundly affected the entire course of world history. It further shows that factors, other than those inherent in the means themselves, were responsible for these results.

Its principal was the object of hatred by the clergy, and the subject of controversy by the multitudes. He was arrested by the authorities on false accusations, and finally put to death as a criminal. The graduates of this school were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and executed. All things natural were against this school and its graduates.

Far from having their works and words neutralized, and their name obliterated from the memory of man; their works and words cover the face of the Globe, in more volumes and languages than any other book, and their names are revered by more people, than those of any other person in history.

God used the humblest to accomplish the greatest end, and "has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:27-29). God does not limit Himself to man's means.

Let us remember that "Now, we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Corinthians 2:12). The Lord is yet seeking those who will accept, and submit to His ways.