Mind Set on the Spirit
Christ tells us that we daily are to deny our self (the false self or old nature) as we follow Him. As we love each day, moment by moment, we are to live in awareness of being in Christ.
In Romans 8:5, the apostle Paul gives us another picture of how this process plays out spiritually:
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Living according to the flesh is living for the false self, that sense of worth apart from God that we build up and rely on for protection. As we live this way, our mind – our intention – will pursue ways to satisfy the flesh.
Expectations. Comparison. Control. Possessions. Numbing the senses. This list can get long. It is bad fruit because of a bad root.
The better way, the way for which we were designed, is the way of the Spirit.
But how do we set our minds on what the Spirit desires?
1. Meditate on gospel truths.
Hide the Word in your heart so that your heart becomes the wellspring of life.
Meditating starts with remembering. But it is also savoring the words – like letting good food and drink sit on the palette before consuming. Repeating them. Praying through them. Writing a response to them. Allowing the words to seep in and transform.
When you have savored truth, when it has seeped into your heart, then as you face your lies (see The Lie) throughout the day you will not be deceived.
If you don’t know where to start, here is a good list with which to begin.
2. Dwell in the community of believers.
Individualism permeates our culture. Yet, our identity is a communal one. Incomplete on our own, we are interconnected (see Of One Heart) to form a body.
This is true for the introvert as well as the extrovert – although it will be expressed and experienced differently by both.
Our experience of Christ happens in community and as a community. In relationship is where we get to practice forgiveness, grace, mercy, humility, service, encouragement, etc. Together is where we express love and our discipleship is seen by a unspiritual world.
3. Surrender to the Spirit.
So often, the Spirit of Christ is seen by followers as a resource to fulfill the desires of the false self.
Surrendering will mean being quiet. Tuning out the noise (see Being Entertained vs. Being) and listening for God.
Being open to the Spirit requires being obedient.
Submitting to the Spirit means that it is not what we will, but what God wills for us. The Spirit is how we, as broken image bearers, are able to understand spiritual things.
Surrendering to the Spirit takes discipline, for it is not our default state. The pull of the flesh – the conflict between the old and new – remains.
But as we set our minds on what the Spirit desires, we live in freedom from the false self.
Cloaked in Christ rather than a covering of our own making (see Covering Up the Broken Image).
In what other ways are we to set our minds on what the Spirit desires?