I am constantly amazed how easy it is to day-dream. Sitting in a less than riveting meeting, wondering how it is that your friends can get so excited about these details your mind begins to drift. And, as John Owen reminds us, a crucial test emerges: what do you think about when you allow your mind to drift into neutral.
I am constantly amazed just what it is we think about on such occasions. Rarely is it spiritual. Paul writes in Romans 8:6, “to set the mind on the Spirit is life.” Spiritual mindedness is a discipline we must learn.
There is a war taking place within us: “The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal. 5:17). Our minds struggle constantly to submit to Scripture, because our minds wander all over the place. I sometimes wonder why it’s so difficult for us to sit down and think about the Lord Jesus for five minutes when we can think of almost anything else in the world for five minutes.
There is a text that we will be coming to shortly in Ligon’s exposition of Luke. It is one of those verses that has always taken my breath away. It is reference to the growth of Jesus from an infant through the stages of boyhood and teenage life into adulthood. The Scripture encapsulate all of this in a sentence by saying, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). He grew physically. Yes, I can understand that. But he also grew in wisdom. And the question is, How did he grow in wisdom? We are facing several issues here. One is that Jesus was incarnate and in possession of real human body and real human mind. As a child he had a child’s mind and not an adult mind. He would have thought of things in a childish kind of way. That may sound wrong to evangelical Christians but to deny it, as a man called Apollinarius did in the fourth century, was something the church declared a heresy.
In his divine nature he was omniscient, but as a man he was not. Even as an adult he would declare himself ignorant of the date of his own Second Coming. He grew in wisdom, but how? The answer seems to be (as the rest of the Gospel of Luke affirms) that he grew in wisdom by meditating on the Scriptures, not because it kind of fell on his head because he was the Son of God, but because he deliberately developed a mind-set that focused on the Scriptures. And on the other side of this statement in Luke, we are told that he grew in favor with God.
I imagine that Jesus spent a great deal time meditating on the Old Testament Scriptures. I imagine, too, that he had learned sections of it by heart. I imagine that he spent many hours wondering as to exactly what they meant. And if we are to find favor with God, we must develop that mind-set.
We must think spiritually – with the help of the Spirit.