Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5)
Romans 8 is a chapter that details how Christ accomplished victorious Christian living for us. When Jesus was incarnated as a man and finally gave himself up- the blameless Lamb as a sin offering, sin within man was condemned. The back of sinful nature was broken, but the sinful nature was not taken away from man. It still resides within man’s body but in a paralyzed state. A Christian has the option to break free from the clutches of a sinful life by submitting to the promptings of the Spirit within him.
When the inward sinful nature send its impulses to man, he has two options- either to succumb or to resist. These impulses can take several forms. Fear of impending or imagined circumstances may play games on the mind of man and urge him to do much more than he needs to. But for fear, insurance companies would long be dead, yet we are moving to a world where fear abounds and insurance companies thrive by insuring practically everything. Man constantly deals with dissatisfaction- be it with his job or home or spouse or the utilities he employs. He therefore chases after alternatives thinking the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ and often wrecks what he has. Fixation on the worldly pleasures, an insatiable urge for earning money, harboring malice and suspicion, worries of various sorts, jealousy and anger etc. are some of the common impulses that man constantly deals with within him.
When he succumbs, his mind fixates on the impulse that drove his action. Over a period of time, his mind gets sets on that impulse, which subsequently begins to drive and define his life. And so we see people whose lives are built on worry, fear, avarice, dissatisfaction and malice. These impulses are now ingrained on his mind and define his character. ‘The mind of sinful man is death’, says Paul in subsequent verses, to describe how such a person though having the potential to live a life full and free, by choice aligns himself with sin, cutting himself off from the life of God and so is truly dead.
On the other hand when man resists, he is able to set his mind on what the Spirit desires and enters deeper into a state of life and peace. He enters deeper into a state of eternal life, being connected to the living God. This process is facilitated by the application of faith, and as he journeys onward, faith becomes an integral part of the way he thinks and lives his life.
The mind is a constant battlefield and the games that our minds play are much more than games- they have eternal relevance!
- JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA