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. Romans 8:5
Bear with me. There is no way to interact with Romans and not engage with the deeper things of the faith. Today’s scripture is a prime example. Many days, I track the number of people who open these devotionals and read them. The days the numbers are high tend to be connected to catchy emotional titles; ones that deal with fear, anger, abandonment, etc. The days the numbers are low are usually ones where a title is more intellectual than heart-oriented. I contend that we need both. Material that causes us to think will lead to an emotional response if we ask God to let it penetrate our heart.
This section of Romans 8 is controversial. Many believe that there are three categories of people; the unsaved, the carnal Christian, and the committed follower of Christ.
I have always believed that but I am searching the scriptures and asking God to show me whether or not there are only two kinds of people; believers and unbelievers. Are those who live according to the flesh unbelievers? And, are those who live according to the Spirit believers? I’m beginning to wonder if that is the case.
Would you ask the question with me and would you prayerfully consider that the issue might be quite simple. We either follow Christ or we don’t. The notion of a church half full of ‘carnal Christians’ might mean that we will all be surprised one day to see ‘too whom’ Jesus says, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” Perhaps we are either ardent followers of Jesus (and have our minds set on the things of the Spirit) or we are hostile to Christ (and have our minds set on the things of the flesh.) In a few more verses, Paul will say that those who have their minds set on the flesh are hostile to God.
I am not saying that if I sin today, I am not God’s child. I will sin – and I have already sinned even though it’s 8:30 in the morning. The questions I must ask myself are, “Where is my mind set? Did I sin with no regard whatsoever to the heart of God? Did I sin without a conscience? Will a line of sins follow today for which I will feel no tinge of remorse?” If the answers to these are ‘yes’, I am probably not a true disciple.
If I am a disciple, I am consistently conscious of the “One” whom I’m following. If He never crosses my mind, then how, by definition, can I consider myself a follower? Perhaps the church makes the issue too difficult. Children may understand these things better than we do. So, I continue to ask God to make things clear; clear enough to change me, challenge me, and equip me to teach the women God brings to my sphere of influence.
Lord, is it possible for a person to be backslidden and still have their minds set on you? I know many who thought of you constantly, but sinned, and were miserable. Oh, perhaps the test is this ~ Is the one sinning thinking of you at all? Bring me understanding as I continue in Romans, Lord. Amen