“To set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
So one interpretation of Roman 8:6 might be to see it as a warning against concentrating too much upon our human weakness, on how often we fail to follow our diabetic Regime. We think about how we fail to exercise regularly, fail to monitor our blood sugar, fail to make good choices at meals, fail, fail, fail. We certainly need to be aware of our shortcomings, but dwelling on our failures can lead to disappointment and depression, and can even make us give up trying all together. If you’ve noticed this tendency in yourself, now may be a good time for an attitude adjustment.
But I think that Paul’s point is more profound, and has greater consequences for my spirituality. “To set the mind upon the flesh” means to allow my outlook to be formed by my lower nature, to view my life and judge it according to worldly standards and secular values. And those standards and values are about pursuing pleasure without regard for the consequences, consuming food, sex, power, entertainment and material wealth without restraint. To set the mind on the flesh means a life without proportion or balance, one which leads ultimately to emotional, spiritual and physical death.
“To set the mind on the Spirit” by contrast means to form my outlook and attitude according to Gospel values, which certainly include the pleasures of food and good company, but also the disciplining of our appetites so we are not ruled by them, the observance of limits, the acceptance of suffering. To set the mind on the Spirit means a life of balance, which leads to greater physical and emotional health , a peaceful heart and the abundance of life promised my Christ.
Be assured of my continued prayers for your health and happiness.