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Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 4:35 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Blest Be the Tie that Binds.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures related to the subject of “kindred minds.”

So, what is a “kindred mind”? It means “having the same attitude, belief or feeling” (dictionary.com) or having “similar interests or concerns” (M-W Dictionary). It also means “like-minded, of the same mind or spirit,” having similar (alike, common) values, and being similarly motivated. And, it means that “believers (when led by God) will treat the moral weight of a matter similarly, i.e. with the same (Spirit-produced) conviction” (biblehub.com).

Of Like Mind (Philippians 2:1-2 NIV’84; cf. Phil. 2:19-21 NASB)

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, united with Christ through faith, and a member together with other believers in one body, the body of Christ, and you have spent any amount of time with that body of believers, you probably realize, by now, that having “kindred minds” is no small task. For, we are all different, uniquely designed by God. We are male and female, old and young, and with varied backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, races, and theologies. So, how is it possible for us to be like-minded, having kindred spirits, being one in spirit and purpose? Does this even seem feasible?

Well, it all begins first with each of us, individually, being like-minded with God, having the same (agape, God-like) love, attitudes, values, concerns, passions, desires, interests, motivations and convictions that he has. So, how does that happen? First we must be genuinely in Christ Jesus, through faith in him, via being crucified with him in death to sin, and being resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24). Thus, we will be born again of the Spirit of God, and we will have the Spirit of God living within us, which means we will have the mind of Christ within us, too (See: 1 Co. 2:16).

Yet, we must also yield control of our lives over to God, submit to his will, and choose to follow him in obedience. We have to give the Spirit control, and surrender to his work of grace in our lives, so that the Spirit can live the life of Christ out through us. If we resist and stifle the Spirit’s working in our hearts, we won’t be like Christ in mind, attitude, or values, etc. And, thus we also won’t be like-minded with other followers of Christ. As well, if we hold on to living according to the ways of this sinful world, adopting the world’s thinking, philosophies, attitudes and values, we also will not be like-minded with Christ or with other believers who are like-minded with Christ.

When we have died with Christ to sin, now born again of the Spirit of God, and we have yielded our lives over to God, and his Spirit comes to dwell within us, then we also need to be growing in our walks of faith. This is because being like-minded with Christ (with God) is a process that takes place in our lives as we spend time with our Lord in his Word, listening to hear what he wants to teach us, and then obeying what he shows us. The more we get to know him and his will for our lives, and the more we walk in the light which he gives us, the more like him we will become. And, when we are more like him, we will also be like-minded with other followers of Christ.

For What Partnership (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a ESV)

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

Now, this is also key to us being like-minded with Christ and with other believers who are also of kindred mind with Christ Jesus, our Lord. We can’t be in close, intimate or binding relationships with people who are not believers in Jesus, or who profess Christ as Savior, but who are not living like they have been set free from their sin. For there is no fellowship (no partnership) between light (truth, righteousness) and darkness (lies, wickedness). We should be in the world, and we should associate with the people of the world, yes, but not join in with them in their wickedness, but rather be the light of Christ to them by our lives and by our words.

The reason we are not to be unequally yoked together with the unrighteous, I believe, is that we tend to become like the people with whom we most closely affiliate. That is why, in the Old Testament times, God did not want the Israelites intermingling with people of other faiths. But, many of them did anyway, and they ended up worshiping pagan gods and following pagan customs, and God was not pleased. God has called us to be righteous, to be pure, and to be holy, which means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. So, those who are the unrighteous, or those who are living ungodly lives, should not be our closest friends and companions, for bad company corrupts good character. So, we are to come out from their midst and be separate.

Now, regarding marriage, the scriptures teach, I believe, that we are not to marry (be unequally yoked together, partner) with unbelievers. So, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you should not knowingly enter into a marriage contract with someone who is not a believer in Jesus Christ. But, I would add to that, that you also should not marry someone who claims to be a follower of Christ, but who is still walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, because it is still light partnering with darkness, and this cannot be. Nonetheless, if you are already married to someone who is a non-believer, or who is a believer by profession only, or who is living in rebellion against God and who is not walking in the ways of God, the scriptures do teach, I believe, that we should stay with that person, because we might be able to win that person to Christ by our godly example.

Everything in Common (Acts 2:42-44 NIV)

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.

This is one good model for us as to what being of kindred minds with other believers should look like, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, it is possible to be devoted to attending church services, and to be dedicated to church ministry, and even to be faithful in tithing, and still not be like-minded with Christ or with other like-minded (with Christ) Christians. Just because we gather together with other believers, and we study the Word of God together, and we pray, and we even minister to the needs of the saints of God and we care for the needs of the poor, it does not necessarily mean we are like-minded with Christ or with one another. Does this make sense?

The reason for this is that it goes back to what was discussed at the beginning of this writing. It has to do first of all with our relationships with Jesus Christ, and us being dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus, and it has to do with obedience and submission to our Lord, and walking in the light that he gives us, and no longer walking in the ways of the flesh.

Then, we can begin this process of becoming like-minded with Christ and with one another, and then we will want to gather together and study God’s Word, but not for intellectual or social stimulation, but for the practical reality of God’s Word being lived out through our lives. We will desire Christ above all else, and we will begin to think like he thinks, and share his morals, values, passions and zeal, so when we do gather together, we will have common interests and concerns, and thus we will act accordingly in unity in the bond of Christ, and of his Spirit, and God will be pleased with our worship of him and with our expressions of love, one for the other.

Blest Be the Tie that Binds
John Fawcett / Hans G. Nageli

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.