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.
There are two possibilities as Christians that will determine if we manifest the righteousness of God, depending on whether we walk according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. The difference is what you set your mind on, i.e., what you are thinking about all through the day, what is important to you. Is it the viewpoint of the flesh, which governs the thinking of the world? Or is it the viewpoint of the Spirit — God’s viewpoint — on life? That is the determining factor — what you do with your thinking. Where you set your mind is going to make the difference.
What is the mind set of the person who lives according to the flesh? You only have to look around to see what that is. It is the natural viewpoint of life. People want to make money, because money provides comfort and conveniences that we would like to have. People want to have fun. People want pleasure, money and fame. People will give their right arm to gain influence and prestige. People desire to fulfill themselves. They want to manifest every capability that is within them. That is what the world lives for. And it wants it all now, not later. That is the natural point of view.
You say, “What’s wrong with that?” There really is nothing wrong with that, unless that is all you want. If that is all you want, then it is very wrong. This is what the Scriptures help us to see — that there is another point of view, which is life viewed according to the Spirit. “Ah,” you say, “I know what that means! That means you have to forget about making money and having fun and fulfilling yourself. All you do is go around memorizing Scripture and thinking about God all day long. You go around reciting Scripture verses and telling people what is wrong with their lives.”
Many people think that is what we are talking about when we say that we are to have our minds set on the things of the Spirit. But, of course, if you see people like that, you soon discover that kind of life does not produce the results this passage tells us should be there. That is really nothing but another form of being run by the flesh — it’s a religious form of it, but it is the same thing.
What does it mean, then, to have your mind set on the Spirit? It means that, in the midst of making money, having fun, gaining fame and fulfilling yourself, you are primarily concerned with showing love, helping others, speaking truth, and, above all, loving God and seeking his glory. The trouble with the world is that it is content with just making money, having fun, and fulfilling itself — that is all it wants. But the mind set on the Spirit desires that God be glorified in all these things. When your mind is set on the Spirit you look at the events of life from God’s point of view, not from the world’s. Your value system is changed and it touches everything you do. The important thing in seeking to fulfill your needs, is that God be glorified. That is what makes the difference. That is the mind set on the Spirit. It does not remove you from life — it puts you right back into it. But it does it with a different point of view.
Thank you, Lord, that even though I struggle there is no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus. Grant me the mind set on the Spirit.
Is the chief end of our lives the glory of God and our enjoyment of Him? How does this affect our reactions to losses and gains of earth’s treasures and pleasures? Do we need to seriously reassess our priorities?