Mind Set on the Spirit

Posted on May 20, 2013 | 27 comments

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?

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  1. I am so glad you linked this up! So encouraged by your post! Thanked you:)

    • Thank you for the encouragement. It is a blessing to know when your words touch someone!

  2. There is nothing better even in this life to not only set our minds on the things the sweet Holy Spirit of love desires, but also to allow our Lord to accompany us to our cross where we lay that false self-life down and enter into the beauty of His resurrected life. Thanks for a nice post.

    • Beautiful description of the Paschal Mystery. Thanks for reading.

  3. Great Post. I wonder if that #2 would look different if Christ were writing it. I say that because he seemed to spend far more time outside of the”body” than within it. So maybe it’s a combination of both. Either way, great post.

    • We should definitely be out among the lost as an expression of the Spirit, no doubt. But Christ often retreated to pray and to be with his disciples. Thanks for the thoughtful response. Glad we get to talk about these things.

  4. Thank you for your awesome post on the Spirit and our need for this life giving Spiritual force direct from Heaven. Your points are well taken. Meditate on the Word of God, Be involved in a community of believers, and to surrender to the Holy Spirit.

    Not my will but thine be done prayed Jesus.
    Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.”

    • Wow, thank you for the high praise. Hope you visit again!

  5. I needed to read this today. Lately I’ve been realizing that I think far too much about myself and not enough about others–and I certainly don’t focus on the Lord enough. Thank you for this encouragement!

    • Thank you, too! Your encouragement was needed here as well. God bless.

  6. These are theree powerful keys, Perkster … now to grab hold of them, claim them as our own, and put them to faithful use. Thank you …

    • Indeed, putting them to disciplined, faithful use is the challenge. Our tendency seems to be to then want to make the discipline the source of righteousness rather than the one we are entering into the discipline for.

  7. Much wisdom here. Glad to have found your blog

    • Thanks for reading. Glad you linked your blog, good stuff.

  8. I know if I don’t put it as a priority, I will slip away from Biblical ideals.

  9. I love them all, but especially like number 1. I’ve been really diving into God’s word in so many ways lately … like you mentioned. It’s really penetrating my heart in ways I’ve never felt before. I also love your wording of Christ “cloaking” us. I often imagine Christ covering me–not just out of protection but out of sanctification. Great thoughts as always, Scott. I feel like I’ve become familiar enough with what you are about here and am so thrilled with it all that I am planning to add your link to my “faves” list today! Thanks for linking up, my friend!

    • Thanks so much. I value your opinion and love hopping over to Messy Marriage. Thanks for the honor of being on your faves list.

  10. Yes, the community of believers is the safe place to work out the fruits of the spirit- if we can not love each other how can we believe that we can properly love those outside our community in Christ? Thank you for Linking up to Thrilling Thursday!

  11. This is such a helpful post. Love what you shared! 🙂

  12. Great thoughts! I love, particularly, your thought about surrendering to the Spirit requires being silent. Thanks for linking this up with me this week.

  13. Wise words! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  14. Beautiful message. So glad you joined the party. There are many others. What a great way to spread the wonderful news of Jesus. May God bless you richly.
    Your sisters,
    Linda and Jeannie

  15. I love how you said that living a surrendered life is not our default setting. Boy, that’s for sure! Our default setting is just to live for ourselves, just watch any toddler, lol!

    God’s Word transforms, and when we get it into our heart, and we have community to help keep us accountable to it, we will find it much easier to live with our minds set on Him. I know I continually need Him and His word to help keep me focused.

    Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  16. ;powerful and encouraging post! Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

  17. Why is it so much easier to just shrink back into ourselves? Reaching out is uncomfortable and risky. But Christ was all about crossing those lines and breaking down barriers. Thank you for prodding me to go where I’d rather not venture because most often that is where the greatest blessing lie in wait! Thanks for linking up last week at Walking Redeemed!

  18. I think it is sadly common for people to not seek to live in absolute surrender. This was a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it over at WholeHearted Home.

  19. Wonderful truths in this post! I think the idea of meditating on the word is one that is lost in our culture today. But it is so needful if we are going to truly cultivate a heart after the Lord and a spirit that knows the truth. Thank you for sharing this very important article!

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