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Finding Life and Peace

“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Rom 8:6

“The most important thing about your mind is what it is fixed upon.”

Dallas Willard

Where does your mind go?

In the Bible, the word mind and heart are often interchangeable. “For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.” (Pro 23:7, KJV)

In Romans 8, Paul argues that nothing can separate us from the love of God because the Holy Spirit of God himself unites us with Christ, Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who live according to the Spirit. (Rom:8:1,4-6)

Not all live according to the Spirit of God. In Romans 8: 5-8, Paul contrasts the life of the flesh, with the life of the Spirit. What’s the difference? It’s all a matter of the mind. Those who set their mind on the flesh or worldly-mindedness find death. Those who set their mind on the Spirit or things of God find life and peace. (v 6)

We all live and work in the world. It’s how we view the world and interact with the world that matters. In the Bible, flesh refers to the “natural powers of a human being, based in the human body.”* Flesh is not always equated with sin. There is a way that leads to life. Paul contrasts the way of the world without God and the way of the world with God. We are made by God to flourish in relationship with God as we live in His world. Life without God leads to death. Life with God leads to life and peace.

The key is what your mind is fixed upon. In Phillipians, Paul tells us his goal, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection?” To know Christ is to set your mind on Him, to be with him, to learn his ways and put them into practice as you find them to be true and trustworthy. The mind fixed on Christ can be renewed and transformed by Christ. The mind set on the Spirit is guided by faith in God.

In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes: “Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues. It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of its own existence. Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves.”

The Christian is one who is looking at God. We can never fully see or know God on our own. Even though our sight may be dim, we see. It is with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can know God and can be with God. We do not have to do great things, master certain doctrines, or become great. We only need faith the size of a mustard seed.

I am reminded of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He was not an honorable man. In fact, he had followed the ways of the world in his day when tax collectors were notorious for fraudulently overcharging people and pocketing the difference. Yet Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus. One day he decided to go see Jesus as he was passing by. There were huge crowds around Jesus. Zacchaeus could not see anything so he climbed a tree to get a better view. When Jesus approached the tree he called out to him and asked him to come down. Even more, Jesus went with him to his home. When Zacchaeus saw Jesus and spent time with him, he changed. He became more interested in God’s ways and decided to put Jesus’ teachings into practice. He pledged to pay back all those he wronged. He began to live a life guided by the Spirit.

Jesus wants to come to us as well. He wants to be with us. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and intentionally seek to know him and his ways, we will be changed as well. Life with Christ, known through the indwelling of the Spirit, gives life and peace. (Rom 8:6)

“The moment [one] is delivered from the condemnation of the law, and is changed, and in this new realm, his hope is certain, and nothing can ever rob him of it.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” I Chr 22:19


* Dallas Willard


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