The Mind Set on the Spirit
So far in Romans 8 we’ve seen the incredible truth that we who have received Jesus Savior and Lord are free from condemnation. We are free from being condemned and free from condemning anyone because Jesus stepped in and took our punishment. As a result, we are no longer under the law of sin and death. We now live by the law of life in the Spirit. It is a life that lives from the indwelling of God in relationship, not from external regulations.
Romans 8:5–6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, From God’s perspective there are just two kinds of people; those who know Him and those who don’t yet know Him. You either live in the flesh or in the Spirit. Before Christ all you had was the flesh.
To live according to the flesh is to live in self-sufficiency. “Flesh” is all I am apart from Christ as I function in self-sufficiency. When Adam and Eve were in the garden and chose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they chose to live for themselves. They chose a life of independence instead of completely depending on God. The flesh always builds its identity around itself. The self-life attempts to find value and identity in what it does, accomplishes and possesses.
You will live from where you set your mind. How are we going to live? Are we going to live out of the Spirit or the flesh? The difference lies in what we set our minds on. “Phronema” means the mind and refers to the content or thought patterns of the mind. The apostle is stating a spiritual equation not a spiritual consequence. Because unredeemed men are already spiritually dead, their minds are inevitably set on the flesh.
but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Again Paul states an equation, not a consequence. We who have received Christ have His indwelling life and need to live from the Spirit. It is a completely new way of living. When we were in the flesh we had to find life from self effort. We are no longer self-centered people but people whose center is in the Spirit. We no longer draw life from self but the indwelling life of God.
We need to set our mind on the Spirit. We have to establish where our mind resides and it’s not a onetime thing. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” You can’t just let you mind wander wherever it will but must choose to actively think on those things that are good, true, right and pure.
We need to remind ourselves of what is true. Romans 12:2 tells us we are not to be conformed to the world but be transformed and it tells us the process of transformation, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is simply the process of reminding yourself of what is true.
Galatians 5:22–25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
The fruit of our lives tells us where we are living from. The works of the flesh are evident; they include sexual sins, envy and greed. When we live out of the flesh that fruit will be evident. When we live out of the Spirit the fruit is quite different. You can’t manufacture true fruit; it grows naturally from the source.
Take an inventory of the fruit your life is harvesting. This is tough because we make so many really good excuses for ourselves but we need to be honest with ourselves and God in order to experience the transformation God has for us. Is there life or death? Anxiety or peace? Anger or love? Short-tempered or patience? Harshness or gentleness? Judgment or compassion? The answer isn’t a vow to try harder but a willingness to confess, repent and yield so Christ can fully express His life through us.
Walk in the Spirit! Don’t miss the admonition, If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. There is no suitable substitute! If you are in Christ you are in the Spirit. The Old Man has been crucified and we are no longer slaves to the flesh. However, we must still yield ourselves to the indwelling life of God and allow Him to live through us. We must live from our life source and the fruit of the Spirit will be produced naturally.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, The result of setting your mind on the flesh or self-sufficiency is death. Whenever you or I set out to make life work by our rules, ideas, or plans the result is death. When we try to get life from booze, sex, people, money, or anything other than God… it always results in death.
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. This is the place we are called to live – the life of God. Not someone who always has a spiritual comment to make but living out of the indwelling life of God. The result is life and peace.
I hope you have a great day tomorrow celebrating Independence Day. Don’t forget the freedom Christ gave to give you. Walk in dependence of His indwelling life and experience all He has for you.
You are loved!