“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
In today’s scripture, Paul is describing a whole new world with a new reality. In the old world, sin and death were the primary realities. Paul refers to this as setting one’s mind on the flesh. This refers to all of the ways in which we seek to fulfill our individual needs, wants, and desires. It is a life that is self-centered. Now, through Christ we have the opportunity to live in a new reality structured by the Spirit of God. As followers of Christ, to live in this new reality, we must simply allow the Spirit to orient our lives. The Spirit can lead us to view ourselves and our world in a new way.
Christians often fall into a trap of thinking that God’s Spirit is only in the church. We have a tendency to put expectations on how and through whom the Spirit can work. The Spirit of God is not solely the spirit of the church or the spirit of the faithful. The Spirit of God has been at work in and around our world since the beginning of time. We simply haven’t known what to look for the whole time.
In the Old Testament, the word for spirit is ruach, which is also used for breath and soul. In Psalm 31, quoted by Jesus in Luke 23, the psalmist commits his ruach into God’s hands. Our souls and our breath are places where we can experience God. The inhaling and exhaling of air can remind us of the Spirit of God who is in us and around us all the time. When we recognize that and continually set our mind on the fact that God is with us, we can live lives like Paul describes in this text. As we continue in our Lenten journey, what is orienting your life? Lent provides us with a perfect opportunity to be re-oriented by the Spirit of God. How are you viewing your world? Can you see God among us?
Loving God, thank you that you are among us even when we do not realize it. Thank you for your Spirit that is within us and surrounding us all of the time. We pray that you would open our hearts and minds so that we can see you. We pray that you would guide us and orient us in our lives so that our souls may be united to you. Amen.