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A mind set on what the Spirit desires

March 28, 2018
By Mark Dunn
Let the Holy Spirit guide your life
One of the hardest things for Christians to realize is that we will always be encumberd with the flesh.  We are not free from this until we are in our new home, the new heaven and the new earth.  Then we get a new body as well as new freedom.  Here is how the apostle Paul describes it: “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands.  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.  For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.  While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us.  Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.  God Himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee He has given us His Holy Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)
What a wonderful promise and destiny.  But in the meantime we have to come to terms with our present condition, which is the struggle with the flesh.  Again Paul tells us, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.  But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.  Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out!  Beware of destroying one another.  So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.  And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the Law of Moses.” (Galatians 5:13-18)
As I’m preaching through the book of Romans I find myself inspired again by chapters six, seven and eight.  In chapter six Paul tells us that we died with Christ through our water baptism and have been raised to a new life.  Then he instructs us to present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness.  Next, he outlines the dilemma in doing this in chapter seven and concludes with this: “Oh, what a miserable person I am!  Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God!  The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.  So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:24-25)  However because we are in Christ Jesus our Lord, the very next thing he says is this: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
So while we struggle with the flesh we discover that we have the power to overcome it.  However there is a very important aspect to this as it will not happen without our due diligence.  I call it the secret of the easy yoke, but that doesn’t mean that we will not have a struggle.  While Jesus did call us to come to Him and that we would find His yoke easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:28-30) He did not mean that this life would be easy.  He said this: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  But here is the great news—Jesus said He would never leave us and He has given us His Holy Spirit as our guide, comforter and helper.  So here is the key to all this: “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5 NIV)
A mind set on the things of the Spirit will keep us focused on the life that produces freedom.  So here is the challenge for us.  Are we staying focused on what the Spirit desires or are we focused on what the flesh desires?  Our dilemma is determining what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh.  We need to continually ask God to fill us with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.  Then we will discover how to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God.  This will give us the glorious strength of God to empower us to have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.  Never forget that God has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and delivered us into the kingdom of His dear Son Whom He loves, having redeemed us by forgiving our sins.  (Colossians 1:9-14)
So while we are never free from the burden of the flesh in this life, we have been given the key to living victoriously, if we will diligently and continuously seek to set our minds on what the Spirit desires.