“Because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be.” (Romans 8:7 WEB).
The mind is undoubtedly one of the most powerful organs in man. Synonyms for mind are: intellect, intelligence, brain, reason. The mind refers broadly to the capacity for thought, perception, emotion, imagination, decision, and memory. It is the faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge.
Your mind is simply the part of you which makes you able to be aware of things, to think, to imagine, and to feel. Your mind refers to your opinion or sentiment, your desire or inclination, your perception, or your focus of thought.
What the human mind is capable of doing, inventing or producing is unimaginable. Every invention or innovation you see around you today is a product of the mind. The human mind is far greater than the latest computer or electronic device!
Sadly, one of the greatest consequences of the fall of man is the corruption of his mind. The outcome of Adam’s disobedience to God is “the carnal mind.”
The word rendered “carnal” in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word “sarx” which is used to denote “the flesh” as opposed to “the spirit.”
The word “carnal” implies mere human nature, the earthly or the physical nature of man apart from divine influence, estranged from God and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.
All of us were born with a carnal mind which is estranged from God, opposed to God, and which is prone to evil.
The Scripture states that the unregenerate people walk “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph. 4:17-18 NKJV).
The natural man or the unregenerate person cannot know, understand or discern the things of the Spirit of God, or submit to God’s Word because of his carnal mind, the mind of flesh, which is hostile to God.
The Scripture states: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14 NKJV).
“Because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8 WEB).
At the New Birth your born-again spirit receives a new mind, the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). However, you still retain your old mind, the carnal mind or the mind of flesh, which you received at the natural birth. So, while your regenerated inward man has the mind which is exactly like that of Christ, your outward man (yet to be regenerated) has the mind of the old man.
Consequently, as a born-again believer you have two conflicting or contradictory minds in you: the mind of Christ and the mind of the flesh. Since both minds are opposed to each other, you will always have to choose which mind you will allow to rule, govern, dominate, or direct your thoughts, words, actions, conducts, attitudes, or lifestyle (Gal. 5:16-17).
Your experiences or results in life depend primarily upon the mind you allow to operate or function in your life. If you allow the mind of the flesh to rule and direct your life, your experience will be death.
But, if you allow the mind of Christ to operate or function in your life, your experience will be life and peace.
The Scripture testifies: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6 NKJV).
Many born-again believers today are still experiencing death – confusion, frustration, depression, failure, poverty, or defeat in life – simply because they are still allowing the mind of the flesh to continue to rule, govern, control, dominate, or direct their lives.
The mind of the flesh (the carnal mind) is the major hindrance or obstacle to experiencing the blessings of God, the inexhaustible riches of God’s grace, and to loving, obeying, believing, serving and following the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly.
Why is the mind of the flesh (the carnal mind) a great hindrance to walking closely and consistently with the Lord Jesus and to experiencing increasingly the blessings of salvation?
First, because the mind of the flesh is naturally set on the things of the flesh:
The mind of the flesh (the carnal mind) is inclined to, set or fixed on the things of the flesh.
The Scripture states: “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, the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5 NKJV).
Therefore, if you don’t make a continual effort to reset your natural mind on the things of the Spirit, it will always hinder you from obeying and receiving from the Spirit of God.
Because the mind of the flesh is only set on the things of the flesh it will always reject, doubt, disbelieve, dislike and oppose the things of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:17).
This is why the Scripture states: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14 NKJV).
Having become born again it is a must for you to embark on re-setting or renewing your natural mind according to God’s Word lest it continually hinders you from discerning and receiving the things of the Spirit.
Second, because the mind of the flesh is death:
The mind of the flesh (the carnal mind) is not set, fixed and focused on God – the Author and Giver of life; therefore it cannot receive, experience, or transmit life – love, peace and joy. The carnal mind is a breeding or fertile ground for fear, doubt, unbelief, worries or anxieties.
The Scripture warns: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6 RSV).
Although you are born again, yet if you don’t renew or reset your natural mind according to the truths of God’s Word your life will still be filled, ruled and dominated by fear, doubt, unbelief, worries or anxieties.
A life that is ruled, driven or controlled by the carnal mind will ultimately result in death both in this life and in eternity (eternal separation from God in hell fire).
The Scripture warns: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom. 8:13 NKJV).
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal. 6:8 NKJV).
Third, because the mind of the flesh is naturally hostile to God:
All of us were born with a mind that is corrupted, depraved or perverted.
After the fall, the Scripture said of man, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5 NKJV).
Beloved, the mind you received at the natural birth is naturally stubborn, disobedient, or rebellious to God’s Word, for it is under the sway of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). Therefore, it is impossible for a natural or unregenerate man to submit to God’s Word or to please God.
The Scripture testifies, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8 RSV).
Similarly, it is difficult for a born-again believer to continually obey God’s Word without renewing or resetting his natural mind according to the truths of God’s Word.
How then can you renew or reset your natural mind so that it won’t hinder your close walk with the Lord Jesus?
Find out in the next piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the mind of Christ at the New Birth. I refuse to continue to operate by my old, natural or carnal mind. Teach and help me Holy Spirit to continually renew and reset my natural mind according to God’s Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.