Theme of the Week: Sacrifice and Death
Bible Verse: “For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5 CSB
Scripture Reading: Romans 8: 1-11
In nature, it is easy to watch the activity carried on by desire.
The very perpetuation of the various species is guaranteed by the presence of desire, and each individual member of each species is sustained and nourished by the natural operation of desire.
In the moral world, things are not otherwise. Right desires tend toward life and evil ones toward death. That, in essence, is the scriptural teaching on this subject. Whatever a man wants badly and persistently enough will determine the man’s character.
In the Pauline epistles, the gravitational pull of the heart in one direction or another is called the “mind.” In the eighth chapter of Romans, for instance, when Paul refers to the “mind” he is referring to the sum of our dominant desires.
The mere intellect is not the mind: the mind is intellect plus an emotional tug strong enough to determine action. By this definition, it is easy to understand the words of Romans 8:5–7:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
When our dominant desires are bad, the whole life is bad as a consequence; when the desires are good, the life comes up to the level of our desires, provided that we have within us the enabling Spirit.
At the root of all true spiritual growth is a set of right and sanctified desires. The whole Bible teaches that we can have whatever we want badly enough if, it hardly need be said, our desire is according to the will of God.
The desire after God and holiness is back of all real spirituality, and when that desire becomes dominant in life, nothing can prevent us from having what we want. The longing cry of the God-hungry soul can be expressed in the five words of the song, “Oh, to Be Like Thee!” While this longing persists, there will be steady growth in grace and a constant progress toward Christlikeness.
Taken from From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional, by A.W. Tozer, ©2017 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.
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