“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. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace… You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Rom 8:5-6, 9)
In Romans 8:5, Paul teaches us an important lesson on how we can be fundamentally changed from the inside out. He said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Rom 8:5)
That’s what we should do in order for the gospel to change our lives. To be more like Jesus, we should always set our hearts on spiritual things. The more we think about the spiritual blessings given to us through Jesus’ sacrifice, the more the gospel works in us, becoming a firm foundation for our lives and influencing what we think and what we do. And, we’ll become more like Jesus.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3:1-2)
Put to Death the Misdeeds of the Body
In order for us to have our minds set on what the Spirit desires, we should put to death the desires of our flesh. When we believe in Jesus, our sins are washed white through Jesus’ blood. However, that doesn’t mean that sin has no influence over us anymore. As David confessed, we’re born in sin. Even though our sins are completely forgiven, the root of sin still remains in us, continually turning us away from God to live as we please.
Even though the grace of the Lord renews us every day, the powerful sinful nature within us also renews every day and keeps trying to separate us from God. It continuously keeps us from setting our hearts on things above, making us focus more on worldly pleasures and satisfaction.
That’s why we should always fight against our sinful nature and the desires of our flesh and fix our eyes on heavenly things.
The real problem, however, is that we don’t have the power within us to overcome our sinful nature. We were born in sin. No one can be free from the power of sin in the world on their own.
We were dead in our sins, following the ways of this world and the desires of our flesh. We were slaves to sin and didn’t even know it. We were hopeless, because there was nothing we could do to overcome our sinful nature. Sin was the only law that governed our lives and no one could escape from it or its result—eternal death.
The Law of the Spirit
However, when we accepted Jesus, something amazing happened to us—the law of the Spirit, which is against the law of sin and death, started to work in our lives, giving us the power to overcome our sinful nature.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1-2)
When we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to send to us to help us, starts to dwell in our hearts, giving us both the power to overcome our sinful desires and the desire to seek spiritual things. Now, we can fight against our sinful nature with the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t belong to the law of sin and death any longer, because the law of the Spirit has set us free from it.
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Rm 8:13-14)
“walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16)
That’s why Paul constantly challenged all believers to set their minds on what the Spirit desires. We can easily fall when we lose sight of the Holy Spirit. That’s why we should keep focusing on things above.
Our Eyes: The Windows of Our Hearts
Then, how can we continue to have our minds set on things above? we should be careful about how we spend our time and what we see in our daily lives. Our eyes are like the windows of our hearts. What we see everyday is piled up in our hearts and it shapes our way of thinking and our values. It also decides how we live in the world.
Jesus: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.” (Lk 11:34)
So, to set our minds on things above, we should carefully choose what we see and keep away from bad media influences. That’s how we guard our hearts and keep them pure and holy. What we see changes our hearts and shapes our lives. If we continue to see beautiful things in God and fix our eyes on Jesus, we’ll live righteously in the world according to God’s will. If we keep trying to read the Bible, listen to God’s voice through it, and carve it in our hearts, God’s word will fill our hearts and transform our lives.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Pr 4:20-23)