Bible Reading: Romans 8.5-8
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8
In today's reading, Paul compares the life of one with their mind set on the flesh, and one set on the spirit. In his comparison he gives us characteristics of each that can help us decide what our mind is set on. Here are some questions to help you figure what your mind is set on.
1. Is it set on life, or death?
2. Are you at peace with God, or hostile towards God?
3. Does your life glorify God, or does it glorify itself?
Maybe I am putting the cart before the horse, and maybe you are not exactly sure what the terms flesh and spirit mean, and therefore cannot know which one your mind is set on. So let’s take a moment and define these terms.
The term “flesh” is the word “sarx”, which can mean the flesh or the body. It also can mean the mere human nature, or earthly nature, of man apart from divine influence, that is therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. Or, as the Vine's dictionary puts it, the unregenerate state of men. So the one whose mind is set on flesh is still dead in their trespasses and cannot find true life in this age or the age to come. They cannot please God or satisfy God no matter what they do. They have not, and even cannot, in their current state, make the choice to trust Christ, because they are hard hearted toward and maybe even hate God.
The term “spirit”, or “pneuma”, means a movement of air or breath, and usually refers to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the triune God, who brings power and new life to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This person has the righteousness of Christ imparted to them and has the Holy Spirit living in them. They love God and want to please God, and even though they may still struggle with sin, they do not find satisfaction in doing so, and are not controlled by that sin. They have a mindset that says they can persevere in their love and obedience to God, because they have the faith that is granted to all who are justified in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in them.
Every day we are faced with choices that can either bring life or death, that show we are either at peace or hostile toward God, and either bring Him Glory or us glory, choices that say we love God or love self. The choices we make show us what our mind is set on. I picture it kind of like the old Looney Toons cartoons. The ones with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. One is focused on the love that is the fruit of the spirit, and one is focused on self or flesh, and only cares how that decision will benefit them.
I pray that our minds are set on the Spirit and that, in the midst of our busy lives, we are primarily concerned with showing love, helping others, speaking truth, and above all, loving God and seeking his glory. When your mind is set on the Spirit you look at the events of life from God's point of view, not from the world's. Your value system is changed and it touches everything you do.
Weekly Memory Verse: A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40