WHAT IS YOUR DEFAULT MINDSET?
According to computer technology and terminology, a “default” is “a pre-selected option or a pre-designed value or setting.” For example, when I started typing this article the page appeared in the format that I had previously designated for the settings I would like for all the pages to have when I type these essays. I do not have to re-set the borders of the pages, the type style, the font size, etc. each time I compose an article. All of these things have already been determined and “saved” to the default setting for all “News and Views” essays.
All accountable, responsible human beings have a “default mindset,” a mindset, outlook, attitude that they have “programmed” themselves to have. The apostle Paul wrote: “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). One’s mindset determines whether he or she lives for the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit.
To live according to the flesh does not mean not having a legitimate concern for the needs of our fleshly bodies and earthly lives such as food, clothing, shelter, love, companionship, friendship, etc. Rather, to live according to the flesh means to live to fulfill the lusts and sinful desires of the flesh. The apostle continued, “For to be carnally (another word for fleshly, hf) 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, nor indeed can it be. So then, those who are in the flesh (possessed of a fleshly mindset or orientation, hf) cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).
On the other hand, to live according to the Spirit means to live to do the will of God and to please Him. Elsewhere Paul wrote: “If then you were raised with Christ (a reference to being raised from the waters of baptism [see Romans 6:1-18], hf), seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting on the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). In other words, let your default mindset be on heavenly things, not earthly things.
In a striking contrast between “flesh” and “spirit,” Paul declared:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies (religious parties [denominations], sects), envy, murders, drunkenness, revelry, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I have also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:19-23).
Of the two above lists the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit which best describes you? Which best describes me? Paul concludes the passage by saying, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25). His point is that as children of God we are to have a spiritually oriented default mindset, not a fleshly oriented default mindset.
Someone said, “We are what we think about all day long.” The wise man Solomon put it this way: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). If our default mindset is of the flesh, we will be fleshly (carnal) in our thoughts and actions. Our lives will be filled with such things as Paul lists above under the works of the flesh. But if our default mindset is of the things of the Spirit, we will be spiritual in our thoughts and actions. We will live spiritually-oriented lives and they will be filled with the things Paul lists above under the fruit of the Spirit.
What is your default mindset?
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . .” (Philippians 2:5).
August 9, 2016
August 10: Highland Heights Church of Christ, Lebanon, TN
(Assigned topic: “Satan’s Arsenal: Denominational Influences on the Church.”)