The Spirit and the mind

I am convinced that God is constantly moving through our lives directing us toward His ultimate perfected plan for us. He is constantly allowing us to learn from the countless situation and circumstances that we face daily when we are willing to seek His guidance. What I find odd is that we are not always privy to what the lessons might be or exactly what the Spirit is working on in us. As we use our minds to try to interpret what we think is going on in God’s arena we might be incorrect in our assumption. However the more the mind fights to hold on to our assumptions perhaps the true lessons of God goes unlearned. That is not a problem for God because the Spirit will just use another situation to teach the lesson that our souls need to learn. Therefore if you truly desire to serve God… then rather than trying to read the mind of God perhaps we should seek the will of God by essentially getting our minds out of God’s more perfect way.

Jesus taught us this in a phrase of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we seek God’s will we turn all things over to God giving Him the complete authority to shape us into His character. He was the One that gave us life and being therefore He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He also knows what temptations you will face and when you might be a bit more gullible than warranted. He actually knows what is coming down the pipelines of your life because of His omnipotence power. From that mighty perch He will direct your steps if you allow Him. That includes allowing you to fall down if necessary because God disciplines those that He loves and accepts as His child… as noted in Proverbs 3:12. Accepting the Will of God means surrendering your power to Him that take away the assumptions of an imperfect mind.

Scripture warns us that the mind is actually hostile to the Spirit. In the Book of Romans, chapter 8 Paul explains this very clearly. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,” that means we might yield to the desires of our heart and mind even if such things go against God. If we follow the mind it could easily lead us in ways contrary to God. The Paul continues to say: “but those who live according to the Spirit, (live according to) the things of the Spirit. That means that we are to cast down our carnal wishes and make them subject to what the Spirit desires. “For to be carnally minded is death,” Our minds and our bodies are products of the earth and therefore subject to its imperfections. “but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” That means when the mind yields to the Spirit there is eternal life and even peace here on earth knowing that you chose to follow the Maker of life. Paul goes on to say: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God;” that means that it wars against God. “for it is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be.” The mind and flesh are from the earth and infallible while the Spirit is from heaven and holy as is God. “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” There is a very clear distinction, either you are guided by the Spirit or by the flesh and the two are not equal. Even more importantly… the two choices lead to entirely different final destinations.

What makes this a bit more complicated for us to grasp is the fact that from the very beginning of our lives we are conditioned to consider the mind as our primary operating system. We use it as somewhat of our engine guiding most of our life functions. Depending upon how the mind is trained while you are developing as a child it can be as useful as it could be destructive. For example if a child walks into a candy store with their parent and sees all that desirable candy he might naturally take some without asking the parent when the parent is not watching. This is in spite of the parent telling the child not to take things that do not belong to them. The child not being spiritually matured might lean into the temptations of the candy rather than the instructions of the parent. That is how the mind can follow the temptations of fleshly desires over the spiritual desires taught by the parent.

For that reason we are cautioned to be in control over the mind. We must do as Paul suggested in Romans 12: 2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We render the mind submissive to the Spirit of God that resides in every believer and say no to the desires of the flesh when they do not align with what God requires of us. That is why we are to renew the mind. We are to feed it upon the Word of God so it follows the urging of the Spirit instead of what the carnal mind desires. This takes us back to Romans 8 that tells us that our minds left untrained are naturally hostile to God. Your ordinary human nature follows your natural animal instincts. But once transformed by the renewing of the mind you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is for you. This does not happen by osmosis but by willful choice. One must desire God’s will in order to be guided by God’s Spirit. It also emphasizes the importance of the Proverb 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” A child does not learn this on its’ own.

So too is it for everyone alike… in order to be guided by the Spirit one must make a willful choice. If the desire is to please God and to become His child it requires a fundamental choice. You must be willing to harness the mind and make it submissive to God’s requirements. That is not something that we usually do by our might or by our own power. To acquire what God has to offer one must use God’s tools, which is the Holy Spirit rather then our carnal minds that are actually hostile to God. By that measure you would not want to use a fox to guard the hen house where he desires to steal his meal. The mind is like that crafty old fox and the meal is the soul that God desires to protect. Because of this we must make our minds submissive to the Spirit that is of God. Selah!