by Michael E. Brooks
“I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2 NKJV).
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
It is generally accepted that there is a distinctive difference between the eastern and western mind.
Certainly there are no significant organic differences, nor is that is what is meant by the distinction. Rather the observation has to do with differences in the way people of different cultures think, reason, and learn.
Processes of thought which seem perfectly logical and undisputable in one culture may make little or no sense to people of another. A given set of facts may lead two groups to completely differing conclusions.
Peter noted that Christians are a distinctive culture with different rules of logic and different goals and attitudes.
“In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4).
In other words, unbelievers just don’t understand Christians.
It is in part that change of thinking which results from becoming a Christian.
“If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
We are Christians because we have learned Christ and therefore desire to be like him. We continue to change our thinking (i.e., renew our mind) in order to continue to apply those things which we have learned, that we may become even more like him.
This idea of a new mind–a different way of thinking–is given an additional application in Scripture. Since Jesus taught one truth (John 8:32; 17:17), its effect on everyone should be the same. All Christian’s minds have been renewed from the same source, modified for the same purpose.
That means simply that Christians should think alike. The distinction between Christian thought and worldly thought is just one side of the story. The other is the like-mindedness that each Christian is to share with all others.
This does not apply only to doctrinal interpretations (though it certainly does apply to those). It also means that two quarreling sisters in Christ should settle their dispute amicably and get along in peace and love (Philippians 4:2).
It means that rival factions in a congregation must maintain unity and come to an agreement, not only on matters of faith, but also those of judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).
How can humans come to such similarity of thinking? The New Testament gives us the answer:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
That is precisely what the world (whether east or west) will not do. Only if we truly submit to Jesus Christ and his love can we achieve this likeness of mind.