I remember when I started college I was so excited about my future. I was so sure of what I was going to do, and I couldn’t wait to graduate and begin my life. Even listening to those last words is funny. Like somehow I thought that my life hadn’t already started. Once I graduated, I thought “real” life would start. As I am now nearing the end of college my feelings have begun to change from excitement to fear. It’s so funny how I can go from being so sure, to having no clue what the next year of my life will look like. Trust me, I do understand that it is normal to experience these emotions as a person who is going to have to leave the life of a student, which I’ve known for 16 years of my life, to hopefully working a full time job. I’m just being open and honest right now, by admitting that I still began to let those fears and anxiety creep in. The thoughts came slowly, and at first I just brushed them off like they were simply pre-graduation jitters appearing 10 months too soon. Then I began to think more about them, and these seemingly small worries became heavy and weighed on my spirit. Although, from what I see from others, this is pretty normal, which has helped me.
So I thought it was okay to think this way, but I was wrong. You see it says in Romans 8:6, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE.” Not even realizing it, by focusing a lot of my attention on worrying about my future and the life I have no idea what I’m going to do with, I was actually hurting my spirit. It isn’t healthy. The Scripture even uses such strong language as to say it leads to death. Worrying doesn’t lead us anywhere good. It only takes us back, yet we let it consume our thoughts and take up so much space in our minds, space that it doesn’t deserve.
To set our minds on the flesh means to think in terms of the natural world. Not believing that God is who He says He is or that He will do what He says He will do. It means to pursue the things the flesh desires, to have greed, or lust, and to even feel shame about things we have done or resentment and bitterness towards others who have committed offenses against us. These are all things that are a result of the fallen world we live in.
But this is the beauty of Christ. He instead gave us a much better alternative. By giving his life as a sacrifice for our sins, we now have the ability to live as new creatures according to the Spirit and not the flesh. And this kind of living leads to life and peace. By setting our minds on the Spirit we can live our lives the way God intended for us to live, a life free of worry and fear and shame and doubt, a life free to walk ahead in peace, knowing that when our thoughts are consumed with His truth and our life flows from that, NOTHING can stop us. We are able to soar as high as we can with nothing weighing us down. That is what life can look like when we allow the Spirit of God to control our minds instead of the flesh.
I encourage you to read over this passage, even out loud with a few people, and write down words and phrases that stick out to you. Then read it over again and write down all the characteristics of God present in this passage, and let the verses to really sink in. Even if you've read this passage of Scripture before, try to see it with new eyes and allow God to speak to you through His very Word.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of lifein Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.5 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. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 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, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit isalive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodiesthrough His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:1-11