Think Like Christ, Live Like Christ

In his book, The Empires of the Mind, Denis Waitley shares the following true story about a man named Nick. Nick, a strong, healthy railroad yardman, got along with his fellow workers and was consistently reliable on the job. However, he was a deep pessimist who invariably feared the worst. One summer day, the train crews were told they could quit an hour early in honor of the foreman’s birthday. When the other workmen left the site, Nick, the notorious worrier, was accidentally locked in an isolated refrigerated boxcar that was in the yard for repairs.

He panicked. He shouted and banged until his voice went hoarse and his fists were bloody. The noises, if anyone heard them, were assumed to be coming from a nearby playground or from other trains backing in and out of the yard.

Nick reckoned the temperature in the car was zero degrees. “if I can’t get out,” he thought, “I’ll freeze to death.” He found a cardboard box. Shivering uncontrollably, he scrawled a message to his wife and family:

“So cold, body’s getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words.”

The next morning, the crew slid open the boxcar’s heavy doors and found Nick’s body. An autopsy revealed that every physical sign indicated he had frozen to death. But the car’s refrigeration unit was inoperative, broken. The temperature inside was about 61 degrees and there was plenty of fresh air. Nick’s fear had become a self-fulling prophecy.

Oh. My. Goodness. The power of the mind! Maybe it’s not “You are what you eat!” but it’s: “You are what you think!”

The mind is that part of us responsible for thoughts and feelings, especially our capacity to reason. The apostles understood this power of the mind. Paul urged the Philippians in 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Here in I Peter 4, Peter gives his take:

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking. (I Peter 4:1)

Peter utilizes a great word picture for how we ought to think in the midst of trials and suffering: arm yourselves. This word picture circles back to the beginning of Peter’s letter:

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, and be sober-minded… I Peter 1:13

We discussed then that this Greek word prepare points to the ancient custom of gathering up one’s long robes and tying them around the waist for actio