Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Mind Controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace

Romans 8:6

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

profileAs my month of fasting begins (it actually began yesterday) I am challenged to think spiritually rather than with my natural self.  Let’s begin with today’s passage in partial context.  Romans 8:5-8 – 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

I want to bring up one more Scripture for our devotional thought today – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  The old is the human – carnal –natural – sinful self.  There are many things that we feel drawn toward – maybe genetically – maybe environmentally – maybe a combination of nature and nurture.  The point is – not all things we might be drawn toward in our natural human self can be considered godly or acceptable as Christians.  I could make an argument that my physical structure gives me every right to be heavy – I mean I am big-boned – I have broad shoulders – I have an appetite that is enormous – always have and always will I assume.  From my earliest remembrances I have had a big appetite.  As a young adult I could down two double whoppers – two large orders of fries and a large milkshake as a nighttime snack.  And while I was active – officiating sports all year round – playing basketball every free moment and keeping otherwise busy – it never showed up in my weight.  But this sinful desire – this over active appetite (a human desire) – has shown itself in significant ways as an adult who has slowed down.  I have gained 100 plus pounds since my young adult days.

Something that seemed so natural to me – so me – has produced a sinful result and acting on it has been sin for me.  My body is the temple of God who lives in me and I have allowed it to go to pot.  For years I rationalized that I was still able to do the things I wanted to do – like play basketball (and well) – even with the weight.  But lately the weight has become a burden and a health issue.

So what feels so natural to you – what desire – what lifestyle – what choice – what practice seems so natural to you – yet according to the Bible is the opposite of what God desires for His creation?  Everything genetic – everything that seems natural – is not good and acceptable.  Everything that seems to be part of our very makeup – things we couldn’t change if we tried even – are not necessarily godly.  We can’t fall into the trap of rationalizing that God made us this way so it must be OK.  God created Adam and Eve and they were perfect.  They fell from that perfection and so the offspring of Adam and Eve – humanity – is imperfect – a product of that original sin – our sin and a sin nature.  Things that we deem natural could very well be sinful my friends.  I’ve always known that about my appetite – but tried to rationalize it away.

We need to examine our lives – our choices – our natural self (which may feel so inbred in us we can’t imagine them being wrong) in light of God’s Word – the Bible.  As Christians – it is not good enough to allow God to be Lord of most areas in our lives while holding back some areas for our control.  You know what I mean – we’ve all heard people say – but they seem so committed to God in so many ways – surely we can overlook this one area of their lives.  That is a good picture of what I have been doing.  I have allowed God to be Lord over a vast portion of my life – while holding onto my sinful – albeit seemingly natural – appetite.  Read once again a few verses surrounding today’s passage.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

We cannot please God while trying to get God to accept our sinfulness.  We cannot say I am faithful in so many ways God – overlook this sinful area in my life.  Sanctifying grace is never satisfied with part of me – God wants all of me – and wants me to reflect His perfect plan – not some hybrid form I have tried to live – battling my natural verses my spiritual self.  Don’t get me wrong – we all battle – in different areas – but we shouldn’t accept sin in our life – ever!  The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace while the mind controlled by the human self is sinful and leads to death!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


November 1, 2013 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. On point pastor Ray. I can think of several applications in today’s society that make sense with your reasoning.


    Comment by Mary | November 1, 2013 | Reply

  2. In the past year I have been more selective in what I read or see. I seek out Christian authors and Christian films that deal as realistically with life as possible. I am using the Christy Award winners works as a list to read through and it has been spiritually rewarding. Also, I have been doing short series of messages and theme worship with my congregations and this too has help me, and them, to grow spiritually, while glorifying, serving, and witnessing to God and the Good News.


    Comment by Favorite Son | November 2, 2013 | Reply

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