How to Set the Mind on the Spirit
Yesterday, I had the incredible opportunity to preach my first sermon as lead pastor of MissionWay Church. It was an exciting day for sure for many reasons. One of those reasons being that we have begun a journey through Romans 8 together. I mentioned in my sermon that 4 weeks is not even close to enough time to really pull out everything I would like from this chapter and deliver it in my sermons. That being said, I hope to use this blog as an avenue to get a few extra thoughts on the passages out there. Whether you're able to hear the sermons or not, I hope that these posts will serve as an encouragement to you and cause you to go deeper in God's Word as well.
I want to take a moment to focus in on Romans 8:5 - "For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit."
When I read that verse, one of the first questions that comes to my mind is, "how can we set our minds on the Spirit, then?" Paul makes it very clear that the only way we can walk in a manner pleasing to God is to set our minds on (and therefore walk in) the Spirit. So how can we do that? I'd like to give a few practical suggestions.
1. Your daily devotions shouldn't end.
No, I do not mean that you can't ever stop reading the Bible or praying out loud. Way too often, we treat our devotions as another item on the checklist that we need to get done. We have this idea that if I have an incredible time with God at the beginning of my day, then my mindset will be right for the rest of the day. I'm saying that our mind-set has to stay on the Spirit all day long. We have to constantly reorient ourselves throughout the day. your daily devotions are great, but they will not sustain you - setting your mind on the Spirit will.
For example, if I pray at the beginning of the day for the Spirit to help me love my wife unconditionally and then, that evening, I begin to get frustrated with her, my prayer at the beginning of the day isn't necessarily what will help me in that moment. It is in that moment that I have to decide once again to set my mind on the Spirit. Maybe I say another little prayer to myself, or I bring to mind a truth from God's Word that I can apply in that moment.
Whatever it takes, I need to be setting my mind on the Spirit throughout the day, not just in my devotional time.
2. Fight with Prayer.
Prayer is not meant to be a last resort, or a defensive strategy for when we mess up. It's meant to be a first response to everything and an offensive weapon. Ephesians 6:18 says - "Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance..." Go into every situation, and every interaction you have with someone with a mindset of prayer. It doesn't have to be long or even out loud, just make sure you are setting your heart on the Spirit through prayer every single opportunity you get.
3. Keep Truth in front of you.
Obviously, the primary way to do this is by reading the Word regularly. But there are many other ways to keep truth in front of you without sitting down on the couch with your Bible in hand. Memorize Scripture for example. Or write down some verses that you know you will need throughout your day and post them throughout your home or office. Listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or an audio Bible on your way to and from work. Talk about Biblical things with your family and friends. Get creative and find ways to keep the truth in front of you at all times, because we live in a world that is full of lies and the enemy is always trying to cause us to stumble.
At the end of the day, we are either setting our minds on the flesh or on the Spirit, there really isn't much of a middle ground here. There is a battle going on inside of us between the flesh and the Spirit and the one we set our minds on will win the day.