“He rebuked Peter, and said “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s”" Mark 8:33
Setting your mind – Jesus was a Jew. He thought like a Jew. His life-world patterns were Jewish. And if we are going to understand what he meant when he spoke, we must understand the world from the Jewish point of view. That is never more necessary than in this phrase. There is a huge difference between what “mind” meant in the Jewish world and what “mind” meant in the Greek world. Just because Mark wrote in Greek does not mean that the Greek concept is what Mark had in mind.
Our culture, modeled on the Greeks, tends to view the mind as a part of the human being. We see the mind as the mental part of our existence. We live in a compartmentalized Greek world of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Neat little boxes that all together make up what it means to be human. But the Hebrew culture does not share this compartmentalized division. In the Hebrew culture, there is only our connection with the earth (made from dust) and our connection with God (the breath of life). Man is the organic whole of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical in one homogenized being. That’s why the Bible can say over and over that what affects any element affects the whole, even to the point of saying that the sins of men affect the earth itself.
So, when Mark used the Greek word phroneo in this verse, he was saying “you are not minding God’s things”. The whole of you. Your thoughts, your emotions, your will and your spirit are all involved in this deception. This is not a mental mistake. It is delusion of the whole person. Jesus calls his followers to the path of sacrifice. That sacrifice encompasses all of who we are. Wherever we resist, wherever we step toward the easier path, toward the compromise, we side with Satan. Jesus does not ask us to find the comfortable and fulfilling life. He asks us to follow him on the way to the cross. It is a life in the direction of obedience – forward, not behind.
Are you minding the things of God? Are you resolute as you face the cross? The life of the sacrificial servant is not the crowd-pleasing, success oriented celebrity life. But it is God’s life.
As I look ahead, I do not see the goals or the finish line. My vision does not reach that far. But I see Him, just there at the top of the next rise. He is urging me on. “Come on. Come on. It’s glorious ahead. It’s God’s great adventure. Let’s go!”
“forgetting what lies behind we press on” (Philippians 3:13)