The Life-Giving Spirit (Romans 8:1-11)
Think on these things…
As soon as we enter this chapter, we discover a rich truth that, if we had time, would take hours to explore. But, today, I would like to focus on one element and that is our mindset – what it means to us spiritually.
First, what we think matters—it matters to the Lord, and it matters to the enemy of our soul. If this were not an issue, then Paul would not have spent time reminding us of how our minds work spiritually.
If I were a trained therapist, I might ask you to consider your thoughts, capture them, check them, and change them if that is appropriate. I am not a therapist, but I am a teaching pastor, so I would say the same thing, only a little different. I would remind you that there are more than “positive” or “negative” thoughts, for there are spiritual and fleshly thoughts as well.
So, let’s take a quick minute to talk about the mind.
Every action, attitude, and creativity begins first in the mind. The mind “set” on God is entirely changed as the life-giving spirit dwells richly in the mind.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh, cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.
Romans 8:5-9 NIV)
We can liken our minds to a radio. We set the channel at will. Occasionally it will be smooth jazz, talking heads, or even a little country. But where we set the radio is up to us. The same goes for the mind. We have a choice to set it at our discretion. Where we set it makes a distinction in our actions, attitude, and what we create.
Where have you set your mind?
Scripture is clear: there are two kinds of people on this earth—those with minds set on the flesh and those set on the Spirit of life. If you do not have the Spirit, then you cannot have a mindset on spiritual things. The profound things of the Lord are spiritually discerned. One either walks in step with their earthly nature and in harmony with the Spirit.
Where you’ve set your mind is important.
The believer can set their mind on the earthly nature or spiritual. God’s word will always stir your hearts, refresh our soul and set our minds on things above.
A mind set on the flesh (carnal)?
If you live your life according to the flesh (fallen nature), then your mind will focus on self and what self wants.
Such a mind declares war against God and defies the authority of His Word. The mind set on the flesh is incapable of following God’s will or moving in the right direction. They will see trouble, feel the blows of other like-minded people, and know nothing good. God takes no pleasure in the mind of the flesh.
God, who knows the mind well, has even given us a description of the carnal mind. Watch how these words reveal the mind of the world:
Sin speaks in the depths of the soul of those who oppose God; they listen closely to its urgings. You’ll never see the fear of God in their eyes, for they flatter themselves—convinced their sin will remain secret, undiscovered, and so undated. They speak words of evil and deceit. Wisdom and goodness, they deserted long ago.
Even as they sleep, they are plotting mischief. They journey along a path far from anything good, gravitating to trouble, welcoming evil… It is there, far from You, that the wicked will be forced down, face to the earth, never again returning to their feet.
Psalm 36:1-4 & 12, The Voice Bible
The mind set on the flesh is blind.
But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
II Corinthians 4:3-4 NIV
The god of this age would like you to set your mind on the flesh. He tempts us easily, but we are born again, and the Holy Spirit has the power to set your mind right by removing the veil of those who are perishing.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to set your minds right.
What makes a mindset right?
Even though the god of this age will make every effort to change the channels on you, be aware the mind set on God is stable and will not change with shifting signals. The Spirit of God dwells in you. As Paul reminds us in Romans 8, the child of God does not obey the law of sin and death.
If the Spirit of Christ lives in you, then you belong to the Lord, if not, then you belong to this world and the god of this age.
Hard words, but true.
The Spirit dwells (infused) richly in you with new life because you’re living today in right relationship with God. The same Holy Spirit power that resurrected Christ Jesus from the dead is set to raise you from an immortal to a mortal body. The life-giving power of the Holy Spirit is real.
Like-minded with the Spirit?
As a bonus, the Spirit of life prepares your mind to receive God’s Word (His revealed will) and the deep and mysterious things of the Spirit.
We can know God and honestly love Him with all our minds. You have a choice. The mindset on the Spirit is beautiful. The Word also describes for us such a mindset. Read this Psalm, and you’ll discover anew the joy of setting your mind right. Watch as your heart draws near to Him:
Your love, O Eternal One, towers high into the heaven, even the skies are lower than Your faithfulness. Your justice is like the majestic mountains. Your judgments are as deep as the oceans., and yet in Your greatness, You, O Eternal, offer life for every person and animal.
Your strong love, O true God, is precious. All people run for shelter under the shadow of Your winds. In Your house, they eat and are full at Your table. They drink from the river of Your overflowing kindness. You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst. Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls.
Psalm 36:5-9 The Voice Bible
Do we have the mind of Christ?
For who has known the Lord’s mind that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ
(1 Corinthians 2:16)
Imagine, as you read God’s Word, you are reading the mind of Christ. We can know His thoughts for us, and they are good thoughts.
What God breathed out from His lips, was first formed in His mind.
As you set your mind on Sacred Scripture, so many negative thoughts and lies will fade away like the morning mist. Our thoughts laid bare in the presence of the Holy will come to light and as a gentle Change Agent, Christ will literally change your mind. How awesome is that?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind; that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NIV
Sacred Scripture is pressed into our conscience and making us “like-minded” with each other and Christ. So, let’s make a choice to set our minds right renewed and set right, so we can discern the good, acceptable, and pleasing will of God.
In Job, we discover these words of truth: Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding? (Job 38:36). The answer to that question is clear, it is the Lord. Whoever has the Spirit of life is new, and they alter their thinking life in the right direction.
The truths in Sacred Scripture are foreign to us if we do not have the Spirit and born anew.
The once born cannot understand the mind set on the Spirit because they are like-minded with the world. Without the Spirit and His transforming power at work in them, they are ignorant and unlearned.
The mind set on the Spirit is delighted with God’s Word. Our minds satisfied, and our souls refreshed in Him. God has promised to instruct us and even show us what to do.
I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will counsel you… Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts the Lord will have faithful love surround him.
Psalm 32:8 & 10
So, what’s on Your Mind?
We hear a lot these days about identity. Believe it or not, identity is important to God too. He knows how significant it is to know who you are and why He created you at this time, place, and purpose. The age-old question reverberates even today: “Who am I?” What we think about ourselves matters to the Lord.
Romans 8:1-11 is clear that we are who we are because of what He has done for us.
We believe, and so we are God’s children.
Belief involves more than you think. It involves understanding, knowing, and living in a wholehearted, committed relationship with God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this.
The “earthbound”, once born, will not understand this spiritual truth. They cannot and will not accept the road Jesus is walking. We Spirit led Christians walk in the Spirit and set our minds on what is spiritually perceived.
What you believe helps you think right. It involves internalizing the eternal truth and allowing yourself exposure to the Light. As children of light, we walk in the light of His love. So, let your mind be set on these things – who you are in Christ.
Reread Romans 8:1-11 and you will discover your identity as follows:
- There is no guilty verdict or punishment for you because you are in Christ.
- The law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has set you free from the law of sin and death.
- You do not live in the ways of the flesh—guided by worldliness and sinful nature.
- You set our minds on things of the Spirit—His ways, His will, and His purpose.
- Your mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (spiritual well-being gained from living “with God” daily).
- You live—walk in the Spirit because the Spirit of God lives in you—directing and guiding you.
- You will see the Lord in the Land of the living. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead now lives in you to raise you up to life eternal in the future.
- Last, but by far not least, You belong to the Lord.
Call to Action
Capture these verses with a spiritual mindset and take a few minutes to identify the meaning in the poem: In the Secret of His Presence.
He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before time began (II Timothy 1:9)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1-2 NIV
As a bonus, here’s a poem by an unknown author that will set your mind anew as you go into the secret of his Presence.
In the Secret of His Presence
In the Secret of His presence
My soul has found repose;
And a voice within the silence
Transmutes to joy, my woes
Here I lay my burdens down,
And deny the power of sin,
And I’m conscious of the Presence,
Of the Christ who dwells within.
Be still, my soul, and hearken,
Let all the earth be still,
While the Master whispering softly
Reveals to me His will.
And the still small voice I hear,
When freed from mortal sin
For I’m conscious of the Presence
of the Christ who dwells within.
Eye hath not seen such beauty,
Ear hath not heard such tone.
Heart never received such splendor
As Christ to me makes known.
Oh, would that all mankind,
This priceless gem may win,
To be conscious of the Presence
Of the Christ who dwells within.
Now, my dear sister disciples, have a blessed day and …. think on these things.