Wednesday, 3 July 2013
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, the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
A good complimentary passage to this verse can be found in Galatians 5:19-26 and will help one understand the difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Also, in Matthew 15:19, we see Jesus’ words concerning such things – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
These are things which could be described as “according to the flesh.” It should be noted that some of them are a result of our humanity and not necessarily our physical being itself. In other words, the word “flesh” which comes from the Greek word sarx, gives the idea of something physical and tangible, but the things Jesus mentions like “thoughts,” “false witness,” etc. are not physical in nature. Instead they come from the mind.
This then is tied into what Paul is saying. Those who live “according to the flesh” will inevitably “set their minds on the things of the flesh.” This is the state of man, even those who are believers. The state of our walk with the Lord can be determined by how much of our mental capacity is spent mulling over the things which are flesh-directed. But it’s important to note that being “in the flesh” isn’t the same thing as the flesh being in us.
When we receive Christ as Lord, we move from being “in the flesh” to “in the Spirit.” The old man is crucified and our headship changes from Adam to Christ. The flesh is still in us and it will remain so until we die or until the Lord comes at the rapture. Until one of those events occurs, we should attempt to live the life we have been granted. As we develop and mature as Christians we should “live according to the Spirit.” This is an attitude where our minds and our lives are directed away from worldly things and lusts and toward the heavenly, eternal things.
For some, the change never really takes hold. For others, it may be delayed for even years and then suddenly grasp them. And yet others may have a profound change in their lives from the moment they receive Christ. In the end, the sadness of a life saved by the Lord and then never bearing fruit for Him will be realized in many when they stand before His judgment seat. Let us endeavor to not be in this position on that day.
Life application: If we are “in the Spirit” then we should endeavor to have the Spirit in us. Be filled with the Spirit through right thinking, reading and studying of the word, a healthy prayer life, and fellowshipping with others in praise and worship of the Lord. This is certainly pleasing to God and is His desire for your life.
Lord Jesus, You saved me from the pit and have set me in broad spaces. Now be with me as I learn Your word and endeavor to live according to its precepts. Help me not to misuse the intent of Your word, but to walk rightly and with pure doctrine. Lead me, guide me, and instruct me in the beautiful pages of the Bible. Amen.