Death … or Life and Peace?
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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
The mind is a powerful thing, the part of a person that thinks, reasons, feels, and remembers. One’s mindset is his particular way of thinking: his attitude or set of opinions about something (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary).
Numerous passages in the New Testament emphasize the importance of having the right frame of mind, of filling our minds with the right thoughts, of using our minds to focus on God’s direction for our lives. For examples, consider 1 Peter 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:7, Colossians 3:2, Philippians 3:15, Philippians 2:4-8, Ephesians 4:23, and Romans 12:2.
Here, Paul the apostle writes of two very distinct, disparate approaches to life. One is the mindset of the flesh; the other is the mindset of the Holy Spirit. Each approach or mindset has its own predictable and definite results.
The mind occupied with the things of the flesh is death (or the absence of life, as in Galatians 5:19-21). The flesh life is at enmity with God; it is opposed to God … and hostile to Him. He cannot and will not bless the life which is lived in the flesh.
The mind oriented in the direction of the ways of the Spirit is life and peace. This kind of lifestyle is pleasing to God, mainly because He authored it. The Spirit enabled life comes from God Himself, therefore He recognizes and loves it.
A believer in Christ has the capacity to operate in either realm at any given moment, but never both at the same time. Therefore, we must choose the way we live, either flesh or Spirit. We utilize the means of grace to make a Spirit directed choice; the promises of the Bible, Christian fellowship, the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and believing prayer.
While God loves the believer whether he/she makes the right choice or not, the actual lives we lead are can only be pleasing to Him when we live them His way.
For Further Review
1. What is the orientation of your own mind? If you were to be honest with yourself, what do you think about and focus on most of the time?
2. Consider the fruit of the way you are living. What is being produced overall: the fruit of Galatians 5:22-24, or the works of Galatians 5:19-21? What is the root cause of either result?
3. Think about it: what does it mean to utilize the means of grace to make a Spirit directed choice? How do we do that?
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