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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
I have written before about these ideas that Paul, Christ and the prophets have been preaching for thousands of years. It is a common theme throughout religion, for religious beliefs are in the spirit, not in the flesh, the world.
The flesh is very limiting. You can do this, you can’t do that, this is how it is, and this is what you are. We are constantly fed these constraints of the flesh and yet somehow we believe that more flesh and more constraints of the flesh will fill the void in our hearts.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…
This we all do. For years I have done this and still do. I got up every morning to pursue things of the flesh. My mind was set on making life as comfortable as possible for my family and myself. I worked sixty hour weeks to ensure we had a decent warm home, decent safe cars, good food and every year a nice vacation trip with the family. I worked the hours to reserve funds to feel secure in our future. I didn’t cheat or steal. I performed at what I consider to be a morally high level, but all was in the pursuit of worldly things for my family and myself, the desire for removing want.
As this came to fruition, my children raised, educated and moving onto their own lives and as I came to the realization that I had reached my pinnacle of employment, I thought, “Is this it?”
I spent practically my entire adult life in pursuit of these worldly things. It wasn’t the pursuit of massive wealth or fame. It was just to live a comfortable life and pass that onto my children by giving them the tools they would need to succeed. I also planned and prepared for my final years together with my wife.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death….
Now some would say that statement refers to those who lie, cheat and steal for worldly rewards, or those who chase the pleasures of the flesh, the adulterers. I can honestly say I did neither, but my mind was set on the flesh. It was set on succeeding at my job, increasing my wages and providing for my family and myself. There was no cheating, stealing or adultery, and yet I reached a point where it felt like continuing with this mindset was death.
The pursuit of the world and worldly desires has but one outcome, death.
So my mind turned to the Spirit. For after almost a life time of the pursuit of the flesh, I realized its only outcome was death. That was it, nothing more. It’s not a punishment, it’s just a fact.
Then after realizing this, you wonder if death should come sooner than later, as you realize there is nothing more. You realize it’s just an ongoing pursuit of nothing with any true meaning or love.
This is why Paul writes in verse 7:
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
A mind set to the flesh truly has no love, and what is the one true law of God?
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
A heart filled with desires of the flesh has no room for God and no room for love. Paul writes in verse 2 of Romans chapter 8:
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
…to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
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