Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Mind Over Matter
When we face something particularly challenging—maybe even something painful—it may be that someone alongside us will offer us some encouragement by saying, “Come on, now. It’s mind over matter.” What they mean, of course, is that we need to block out the thoughts of any immediate difficulty or pain that we might experience. Instead, we need to set our sights on the reward we will receive when it’s all said and done. It’s a matter of focus, mind over matter.
But, of course, the opposite is also true. If we set our sights on failure and mediocrity, that’s what we’ll end up achieving; maybe even worse than that.
The truth is, it’s natural for sinful human beings like us to choose the path of least resistance, to take the easier way, the path that seems less painful. And that’s especially true when it comes to our spiritual lives. Instead of setting our sights on the unseen, eternal blessings that our Father has promised to give us in heaven, we jump at the chance of securing as many creature comforts in this world as we possibly can right now.
St. Paul describes this as setting our minds “on what the flesh desires.” And he doesn’t pull any punches when he tells us what the result will be: “The mind governed by the flesh is death.” But because of our broken hearts and sinful minds, we’re doomed. Sinners can’t help themselves.
But Jesus can help us and does. Not only does Jesus assure us of our perfect forgiveness and willingly crush our eternal condemnation forever. But he gives us the gift of his Spirit, who renews our minds and empowers us to set our hearts on things above, not on earthly things. And, Paul explains, “the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
The Christian life is mind over matter. And in Jesus, our mind in the Spirit wins.
Dear Jesus, empower me to live according to your Spirit and set my sights on you. Amen.