Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 8:6
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,” – Romans 8:6
This verse speaks of the most extreme dichotomy we can imagine. This dichotomy results in either death or life. However, this does not refer to physical death or life but to the spiritual. Looking at our focus verse, the choice we make that highlights this difference regards what we are focused on. Is it our fleshly desires that lead to spiritual death, or is it on the Spirit that results in life and peace?
In verse five, Paul says there are essentially two contrasting ways of living life. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5. And each of these depend on what we focus our minds on. The first one is to follow the dictates of our flesh. Later in this chapter, he explains why this is the case. “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8. The one who’s mind is on the flesh is contrary to God, in fact, he goes as far as to say it is hostile to God. The reason being they are more interested in what they desire as opposed to what God does. They have placed themselves in a position which puts them as more important than God. As an example, if you have two friends who are very important to you, and they ask you to choose between two different restaurants, you will probably choose from the one which you desire to please the most. The same idea is seen here. Who do we find most important in our lives and wish to please: God or ourselves?
The opposite of those whose’ mind is on the flesh are the ones whose minds is on the Spirit. The idea here is that we place ourselves under the control of the Spirit of God. When we do this, we desire what God wants as opposed to what we want; that we love God more than ourselves. Jesus put it succinctly when he said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. So, this basically leads to a question that we need to honestly answer, do we love God more than ourselves. The answer to this question decides whether we will set our minds on the flesh or the Spirit.
Paul lays out in his letter to the Galatians the difference between the actions that come about by our decision. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:19-23. Let us always strive to follow the fruit of the Spirit and eliminate the deeds of the flesh that may creep into our lives.
And finally, as I intonated above, we should always examine ourselves to see if we are focused entirely on God and His ways. We should pray and ask Him to show us where we may fall short so we may get back on track. As David said in calling out to God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24. We may not always know where we stand, however He knows everything about us. Let Him guide us in His ways and be who He desires us to be. This is life lived beautifully for God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.