Certain key patterns of thought and behavior mark out those who think with the mind of Christ vs. those who think with the mind of the flesh, but the core and key difference is simply this: do you think first of other people or of yourself? If the former, then you are disposed to listen to the Spirit. If the latter, then you are immature at best and, if you do not repent, you are on the road to pathological narcissism, which is another name for hell.
So, for instance, when you contemplate a mask, is your first thought, “Why do I have to wear this? It doesn’t guarantee I won’t get the virus?” or “This will help reduce the chance that I exhale any virus I might be carrying to my vulnerable neighbor, so I’m happy to do it, even though it’s a bit of a nuisance.” If the former, you are thinking first (and usually only) of yourself. My risk. My inconvenience. If you give that impulse its head, soon you start imagining that you are oppressed, that you are the star in a drama of oppression and rebellion starring your precious as a freedom fighter. Your gigantic ego swells to blot out all else and your self-pity slaps a yellow star on your own chest as you insult the memory of actual victims of real oppression even as you go around coughing in the faces of the vulnerable while shouting into Youtube selfie video and acting like a buffoon.
Or consider how you analyze things like vaccines and their role on preventing COVID transmission:
A person who thinks with the mind of Christ asks first, “Even if I cannot completely prevent transmission of a deadly virus to the vulnerable, can I at least do something?”
A person who cares only about themselves and their own convenience says, “I don’t want to lift a finger for somebody else, so I will tell myself that if vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing transmission, then there is no point in my being bothered to think somebody else, because any lame excuse will do to rationalize my not even trying.”
For, in point of fact, vaccines do reduce the chance of infection and dramatically shorten the amount of time the infected shed viruses for somebody else to catch. So being vaxed is not just good for you, but for your vulnerable neighbor. And the bigger the population of vaxed people, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
What is evident in all this is that before the vaccine can work in the way it is intended, just as before the vaccines of the Spirit called “sacraments” and “faith” can work, it is necessary for us to have the proper disposition to receive them. All the free vaccines in the world will not help the person who refuses to accept them and all the grace in the world is useless to the person committed to forever thinking always and only of himself first. The anti-vax crisis in this country is, first and foremost, a spiritual illness born of a heart that thinks first and foremost “Me! Me! Me!” when the Spirit is challenging us to put others first.