Set Your Minds on Things of the Spirit
About seven years ago I realized that when it came to my salvation, “I can do nothing, but I can’t do nothing”. In Romans 8 I have found that “thing” that I must “do”.
If I am lost in an eternally black desert with only one path that leads from me to safety with no realistic chance of getting out or of survival; and, if there is a great light in the distance; and, if I set myself to look at the light and walk in the direction of the light, is it the light that saves me or me setting my mind on the light that saves me?
Romans 8:2-5 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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.
If you set your mind on the things of the Spirit, then you will be set free from death that is a consequence of sin. This means then that the thing we need to do to live according to the Spirit is to set the mind on the things of the Spirit.
It is still all a gift of God like faith but it is the thing that we have the most control over. It is never a finished thing until our ability to set our mind is finished. We can never do it fully and we can always do it better so it gives our life a work to do that does not have definite physical result here on earth. I.e. there is no “endpoint” or “achievement” of this. There is no place where we can say that we have arrived. It is an ongoing life in the Spirit that can be seen by others and identified as the Spirit of the Living God in us. There will be a witness but it will never be a roadmap to salvation. The very fact that it cannot tell another how to live their life is what starts them on the path to “setting their mind” on things above. If they see “good” behaviors and try an imitate them to get salvation they will be confused and lost. If however they see those behaviors and they then ask “Why does he do that?” or “Nonbelievers do the same so what makes this of the Spirit?” Those questions are setting their mind on the Spirit. If we do this repetitively while getting our answers from the only true source, The Word of God, our lives will be transformed and the pattern repeated.
Conversely, Saying “If I do this, I will be saved” is setting our minds on ourselves and our well-being. The Bereans were nobler not because they doubted Paul and wanted to prove their accuracy over his, but because they were taking whatever he said and thinking on the things of the Spirit. Questioning is salvation when the answer is always somehow wrapped up in God.
Here in lies a very narrow path to that light across the vast darkness. We can question to gain knowledge, prestige and power. This is a path to damnation. Just one portion of a degree off of the path to abundant life. To truly set our mind on the Spirit (if ever we could completely do such a thing) we would not be cognizant of the outcome but only interested in the object of what we are setting are minds on. The Spirit. Jesus. God. So our answer to the question above is…Yes!!
The practical question then as a human is how do I actually do this? But this is a question for another pondering….