Open Your Bible
Ephesians 1:15-23, Philemon 1:4-7, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Psalm 8:1-9
BY Annie Downs
It’s not unusual for me to be in a room full of people who are smarter than I am. It’s partly because that’s a goal of mine: to surround myself with people who are significantly better at life than me. But it’s also because I’m just not Harvard material. I may have an above average funny bone, but my brain is pretty average.
A few years ago, I was selected to be in a month-long class full of people who are massively impacting the world and doing it with their impressive brains and contributions to society, through technology and non-profit work. I kind of snuck in—it was the favor of God for sure. For an entire month, I sat around a table with ten people of different religious and regional backgrounds from me, and certainly a much higher pedigree. My average brain and I were one of a kind.
Early on in that first week, I realized I didn’t have what it took to hang with that crowd; and the worst part was, they knew it, too. It wasn’t long before I was being overlooked in conversations and ignored by my peers when group work was being done. They had weighed my brain and found it wanting.
Each day, I took the train from one side of town to the other in order to attend this symposium, and the commute gave me time to read my Bible and journal a bit. I was desperate for God’s help every day, nervous to go in and sit with that group of rockstars, wishing to avoid the embarrassment of not being smart enough for them.
But God steered me toward Scripture about what our minds can really do—what MY mind can do. We can pray for our brains to be enlightened because we’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Our actual thinking and ideas are sharpened by the indwelling of our all-knowing and all-powerful God! Even better, we can present those ideas with full integrity and honesty, because we have the mind of our perfect Savior.
I began to pray earnestly that God would increase what my brain could do—not because I wanted to be the brainiest person in the group for that month, but because I realized I was the only representative of Christ in that room. How my brain showed up reflected Him. If Jesus really fills all things in all ways like Ephesians 1:23 says, couldn’t He do that with my mind? I wanted a transformation, a new wineskin (Matthew 9:17), a better mind. I wanted the mind of Christ.
And as I prayed each morning, it happened. I don’t consider it an exaggeration to tell you it felt like a miracle to me. My capacity to remember increased, ideas came to me more quickly, and it felt like my brain muscle was getting stronger. As the month rolled on, my relationships around that table changed as they started hearing me, trusting me, and allowing me to equally contribute to the conversations.
Maybe I’d become way smarter. But maybe, above all else, my confidence was through the roof. I HAD THE MIND OF CHRIST. I could share any idea, and whether it was loved or not, I believed it was a good one. Jesus had changed me; the power of prayer had worked for my good and for His glory.
Years later, I am changed by that month, but not just by what happened in the classroom. I am far more changed by my time on the train and what God taught me there. The power of Jesus changes our lives, but it changes our minds, too.
These days, I run my own business. I write books for a living. I have to have a mind that is focused and increasing in knowledge constantly. I read books, I listen to podcasts and lectures. But the honest truth about any smarts I have is because of exactly what Ephesians says: I pray for spiritual insight. I pray for wisdom beyond my years and in spite of my tendency towards foolishness. I ask Jesus to do in my mind the miracles only He can do—fill me with the immeasurable greatness of His power. Everything good in me is for the glory of Christ (Philemon 1:6).
Our strength is limited, but His strength is vast. Our hope wanes, but His hope is eternal. His Word says His riches and power are now ours (Ephesians 1:18-19). Let’s believe Him.