Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 1, 1970
NUMBER 34, PAGE 1-2a

The Mind Of A Perfect Man

Robert C. Welch

No, it is not the mind of the man who thinks he has learned it all, will never need to change his mind any more, and has reached the peak of understanding above that of his fellowmen. Instead, it is the mind of the man who realizes that, because of what he has learned and the difficulties he has had with such progress, he has much yet to learn through hard study with trial and error experience. This is the mature mind. It is the mind of Paul the apostle. He has the open, yearning, humble mind of the perfect or mature man; in contrast with the closed, haughty, self-satisfied mind of the puerile or doting man. Let the apostle's word picture thrill your soul:

"Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall reveal unto you: only, whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk." (Phil. 3:12-16).

According to this inspired instruction we must maintain the same open mindedness which we have used in learning what we have gained up to this point. We try to appeal unto men who do not know the fundamentals of the truth to hear with open minds; just so must we continue to listen, study, live and learn with open minds.

There is a great difference between conviction and prejudice, or between firm faith and closed mind. Also there is a great difference between having an open mind and being always in doubt. Paul speaks of some whose minds are like an open sieve with everything going right through; "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 3:7). A man began a debate with another man with these words, "I did not come here to be taught, I came to teach." Another man entered into such a debate with an expression like this; "i am firmly convinced that what I shall present is the truth of God, but if my opponent can show me otherwise I am willing to accept it." The former demonstrated a closed mind, maybe hard-headedness; the latter, conviction yet open mindedness.

He who trusts in himself that he has learned enough to close his mind, and can look down from the heights of his knowledge and wisdom upon those others as they toil and labor up the mountainside of understanding, should look back at a parable that he most surely would have passed on his way up. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, ... But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18:11-13).

The renewed mind that proves "what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God," will want to keep in mind this feature of such a mind; "For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith." Also this gem from the same chapter is along the same line; "Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits." (Rom. 12:2, 3, 16).

Men who pride themselves in their accomplishments, whether of deeds, power or learning, usually reach such delusions of glory by comparison with others. They may think that they have attained the same height as their idols have reached. They may be looking on some who are less capable or newer in the climb, hence they have become dizzy with the height, especially as they look down. They need to recall the words of a man of God; "For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with certain of them that commend themselves: but they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding." (2 *Cor. 10:12).

There is only one time in life, the end, when we can say that we have reached the peak of our understanding, faith and righteousness. But we cannot know when that will come. One man knew it by inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16; Cor. 2:12, 13); hence he could say; "For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." (2 Tim. 4:6, 7). Until that time he was passing on, not looking back, calling on us to be thus minded and walk by the same rule. May the Lord keep us humble, open minded to our mistakes and imperfections and to efforts to teach us and lead us "to the rock that is higher than I."

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