By Pauline Daniel
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Rom 8:6
Every Christian hopes to one day be perfectly like Jesus and perfectly pleasing to God. Now when we really want something, we don’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. We do our best to make it a reality. If we want to be good in sports, we train. If we want to be a good musician, we practise. If we want our bosses to like us, we work hard. So what should we be doing if we really want to be pleasing to God?
One thing that we need to do, according to Paul, is to set our mind on the Spirit rather than the flesh because if our minds are set on the flesh we cannot please God (Rom 8:7). What are the things that occupy our mind? Everything we read (books, news), everything we watch (TV, movies, WhatsApp forwards), everything that we spend time on influences our mind, our values, and our worldview. Companies pay for product placement in films because they know that even if there is no direct promotional message, just seeing their products in certain settings influences our perceptions of them. So we need to be careful about what we fill our minds with. Christians who read nothing but the latest novels, watch nothing but network television, and talk to nobody but unbelievers are never going to form the mind-set of the Spirit. All their input comes from one direction, reflecting the value systems of the "flesh" (Douglas Moo, NIV Application Commentary)
Now, as long as we are living in this world, we cannot eliminate the inputs that come with worldly values embedded in them. But we can counter them by ensuring that we fill our minds with good things. How much of what we put into our minds is based on kingdom values? As Phil 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
As the popular saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out”. What we fill our minds with affects how we live. If our mind is filled with worldly values, then we will live by those values which is what Paul calls “living according to the flesh”. That leads to spiritual death. But if we fill our minds with the right values, then we will be able to take the Spirit’s help to put to death the deeds of the flesh and live lives that are pleasing to God (Rom 8:13).
So what is your mind set on?