The Mind Set On The Spirit

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 11:17 a.m. – As I sat down just now to hear from my Lord, to sit at his feet, to learn from him, and to be taught in his truths, he put the song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” in my mind (awesome old hymn). Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I believe the Lord Jesus would have me address the topic this morning of what it means to have our minds set on the Spirit, so the scriptures will be various.

Who is The Spirit? – And what is his function in the life of a believer?

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16 NASB)
The Holy Spirit of God is the third person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we, by faith in Jesus Christ, accept God’s invitation to his great salvation and to eternal life with him in heaven, he indwells us with his Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples early on that after he left this earth he would send them the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to indwell them and to speak his words to their hearts – to teach us all things; to disclose to us what is of Christ; to counsel, encourage, and to guide us into all truth, etc. (See John 14-16). Having the Holy Spirit within us is much like having Jesus Christ right here with us in the flesh talking to us in person, only better in some ways, because he is within us not just in body, but in mind and in heart, and he is so 24/7. Amen! God had all this prepared in advance for all those who love him. Awesome!

The Spirit within us searches all things, even the deep things of God. The Spirit knows the thoughts of God. We have received the Spirit within us that we may also know the things freely given to us by God – the truths of God which we thus speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but those taught to us by the Spirit of God. We have been given the mind of Christ because his Spirit is within us, and the Spirit knows the mind of God. The things of the Spirit of God are spiritually discerned, so the natural man cannot understand them. But we, who have the Spirit of God within us, can be taught by God via his Spirit. Yet, we are still clay vessels, and we don’t see perfectly all the time, and we know only in part, but one day we will see Jesus face to face, and then we will know fully (See 1 Co. 13:9, 10, 12).

How do we get to know the mind of Christ within us?

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God…

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:1-8, 12-14 NASB)
If we who are believers in Jesus Christ want to know the mind of Christ, which is within us, to hear his Spirit speaking spiritual truths to our hearts via his Word, and via his Spirit within us quickening our minds and hearts to receive his truths, we must have our minds set on the Spirit, and we must be walking in the Spirit. Why? Because if we are not living our lives by the Spirit of God, and we do not have our minds set on the things of the Spirit instead of having them set (established; firm) on the things of this world, we quench the Spirit and we put out his fire in our lives, as well as we grieve the Spirit of God by our rejection of his sacrifice for our sins, for he died, not just so we could go to heaven one day, but so we could walk in victory over sin while we still live here on the face of this earth.

So, how do we set our minds on the Spirit and not on the flesh? – Only by the grace of God and by His Spirit at work within us as we cooperate fully with that work. One of the ways in which we cooperate with the Spirit’s work within us is that daily we put to death by the Spirit of God the deeds (or misdeeds) of our flesh. When temptation comes our way, and it will, or when our flesh begins to arise and to take over, we, by the Spirit of God, choose to reject the temptation to sin, and we choose not to give way to the flesh, and by the Spirit of God within us we choose instead to follow Christ Jesus and his ways and to walk in His truth. We don’t allow things to be entertained in our minds that are contrary to the will of God for our lives; we don’t give the devil a foothold by which to work his way in our minds and hearts; and we choose to not be entertained by the sins of others, too.

And, then we daily enter into God’s presence, we meet with him, and talk with him, and listen to him via his Spirit within us and via his word speaking his truths to our hearts, and we choose, in the strength and power of the Spirit living within us, to follow our Lord Jesus wherever he leads us and to do what he says to do. The more we listen to him, and we do not walk away and forget what we look like, and the more we put into practice the things he teaches us we must do, the more of his Spirit we get to know because we are in the practice of listening to his voice and following his lead. Hand-in-hand with this, though, must be that we forsake our idols and our sinful practices which have a hold on our lives, and that we remove all hindrances in our lives which war against our souls and that drag us down (See Heb. 12:1) so that we can run the spiritual race set before us.

How is the Spirit of God lived out through our lives?

There are too many ways in which the Spirit of God is lived out through our lives for me to be able to describe them all to you, though they should all fall under the rule of the law of (Agape) love for God and for our fellow humans. Some of them have already been discussed here, so I will focus mainly here on our testimony for Jesus Christ, i.e. on how the life of the Spirit is lived out through us via the words that we speak (or write), as that is the ministry the Lord Jesus has given to me. Yet, this is not unique to me, for he has given all of us the responsibility to be his witnesses, to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey what Christ has commanded us, and to do our part within the body for the building up and encouraging and strengthening of the body of Christ, of which we are all a part.

In 1 Co. 14 we learn that we are to do (and/or to speak) what leads to the edification (instruction, education, improvement), exhortation (urging, counsel), instruction (teaching, training) and encouragement (reassurance, help, strengthening) of the body of Christ (Cf. Rom. 1:12; 12:8; 14:19; 15:2, 14; 2 Co. 13:11; Eph. 4:7-16, 29; 1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11-14; Heb. 3:13; Jude 1:20). We are to speak the truth in love to one another and to help one another come to maturity in Christ so that we are no longer tossed back and forth by various winds of teaching. We, as the body of Christ, grow and build ourselves up in love, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, as each part does its work (See Eph. 4). In other words, we are all necessary. Not one part of the body can say to another, “We don’t need you” (See 1 Co. 12). Nor should we give the impression to any one part of the body that they are less than us or that the function they fulfill is somehow not up to our standard of excellence, because God honors the parts of the body which are dishonored by mankind. And, it is the Spirit of God which determines which part of the body we are and what our role is to be, and this is not something we determine in our own flesh.

As well, we cannot instruct, counsel, encourage, build up in the faith, exhort or edify the body of Christ in our own human flesh, of our own will, and with human reasoning or intellect; not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. So, we must be in tune with the Spirit of God through the practice of daily listening to him speak his words to our hearts; through the practice of doing what the word says and not just to be hearers only; and via the daily practice of putting to death the deeds (or misdeeds) of our flesh, which war against our souls, so that we can daily walk in the Spirit of God and follow him wherever he leads us.

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah / William Williams / John Hughes

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.