Let’s read Romans 8:5, “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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. So, what are the things of the Spirit? First and foremost, it is the Lord. The Spirit came to glorify the Lord and the precious truths. He guides us into all the truths. All these truths are related to the Lord. The Spirit brings us to the Lord to enjoy His unsearchable riches. Therefore, our mind is very important. To live according to the Spirit means setting our mind on the things of the Spirit.
Our mind is very important. Are you setting your mind on the things of the Spirit? When you think of the Lord, you are thinking of the things of the Spirit, because the Spirit brings us before the Lord. Romans 8:6 reads, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death…” This doesn’t mean that you are not saved. It means your heart feels as if you were dead, which is the opposite of being alive . Let’s continue the verse; “… but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” In fact, this is your experience. When your mind is not affected by the things of the flesh, but rather is influenced by the Lord, His love, and the things the Holy Spirit guides you to think, then you have peace in your heart, and you feel alive. Your heart is not dull but alive, being normal and peaceful. Galatians chapter 5 makes it clearer to us. What did Paul say? Let’s read verses 16-18: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Here, Paul mentions that we ought to “walk by the Spirit.” This is the same as to “live according to the Spirit” as mentioned in the Book of Romans. The Holy Spirit will guide us. As stated in Romans, the Holy Spirit guides the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
Let’s continue with verses 19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Starting from verse 22, it mentions about the Holy Spirit, which brings very different fruit.
Let’s read verses 22-25: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
We need to keep in step with the Spirit, to live according to the Spirit. As shown from verses 19-21, we have some ideas about the works of the flesh, and there are still other examples not mentioned in this passage .
Our mind is very important. We see from Romans chapter 8 that we need to set our mind on the Spirit.
How can we overcome all these things of the flesh? There are two things that we must do. First, as Romans 8:5 says, “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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Our mind is very important. We need to set our mind on the things of the Spirit. The Book of Colossians tells us that our mind plays an important role in overcoming the flesh. If you don’t guard your mind and you don’t mind the things of the Spirit, you’ll surely fall. Regardless of the many ways you might use to help yourself, they’re not going to work, because you have gone on the wrong path. To win the battle, we must start with our mind. Not only should we guard our mind, we must let the Lord be our life. You need to be heart to heart with Him, enjoy His provision, and let Him be your life. Moreover, we need the Spirit to give us life, because Christ is our life (Col. 3:3-4). The Spirit gives you life and strength.
Galatians makes it very clear that there is no “middle-ground”. When we walk by the Spirit, He will guide us to the Lord, and help us enter into the truths, so that we will see the preciousness of the Lord and the Father. He also makes us truly know the Father, His love towards us, the hope of His calling, and the breath, length, height and depth of the Lord’s love. In addition, the Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts, so that we can experience the love from the Father and the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:45 reads, “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
The last Adam is the Lord. He already ascended to heaven. When the Holy Spirit came, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit began to dwell in us. Christ is in us, and He became a life-giving Spirit. Now, His Spirit is in us, and His body, which is a real body, is in glory. So, it’s not His body that lives in us but His Spirit. Paul also said, “The Lord be with your spirit.” (2 Timothy 4:22) It’s more advantageous for His Spirit to abide in us, because we enjoy the indwelling of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit at the same time. He was once by the side of the disciples. But now He has become the life-giving Spirit. He lives in us and gives us life in our spirit. No matter what failure or weakness you might have, as soon as you rely on Him and enjoy His provision, your heart will come alive. Your spirit can rise again. The Lord is living. He abides in us and works in us: He gives us life, strength, comfort, and encouragement. He also teaches and guides us. He is living.