The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. [NRSA]
Mrs Reid, my first grade teacher was such an inspiration in my life. She taught me to be see beyond the color one’s skin; she taught me to the values of sharing and respect. She taught me about single cell organisms and basic geometry. We also did the lima beans in the clear plastic cup over Spring Break. The seeds we plans, began to sprout before we left and when we returned they were to the top of the cup and by the end of the year they had been transplanted and bore more lima beans which Mrs Reid seasoned and served us to eat. A year long time of learning a simple lesson.
We are have what feels like a year of waiting on our hands, what can we do with the time?
The Logic of the Flesh: When we only measure the world around us scientifically, we evaluate the monetary value, the about of weight, mass or volume of an item. We measure people by their size and characteristics, or values and behaviors. We calculate by time and season. We try to plan for the unexpected struggles. We enjoy the possibilities of the amazing bodies that are the primary way we experience the world, our past, present and projections of our future.
All these help us understand ‘part’ of what it means to be the persons we see as our self and one another. The marvelous bodies, in this physical world, are at the heart of our spatial identity in this physical world.
But we are more than physical we are also spiritual.
Every part of the physical world comes to an end. If we are content only acknowledging that as our singular existence then we are miss out both in the future and in the present.
Paul is teaching the church at Rome and us in our hearing, that we are unique from every other creature in the earth. We have not only a physical reality, we also are a spiritual reality. Two realms, one person. One is temporary and the other is eternal. Our unique opportunity is that through our experience in the Physical realm, along with the law and love of God, the grace in Christ and the guidance and breath of the Holy Spirit, we are shaping our spiritual reality.
At the end of our physical life we will have matured our spiritual self, or we will not have done so.
States simply as Paul says: If we only focus on the physical, then when the physical dies, as it surely will, what is left of us? Paul phrases our experience in terms of what occupies our mind. If you could be quite scientific and physically minded about how we spend our time, energy, emotion, intellect, and all the natural resources and relationships to what end? Is my Goal in life to be Wealthy? Happy? Content? Wise? Generous? Balances? Clean? Moral?
With effort, intentionality, drive, determination, and good choices, we might indeed become one or more of these things. But at our death can you take wealth, emotion, thought, deed, or anything to the grave? If at death we believe that we cease to be. Then are we simply maximize physical time, matter and the rules of physics for what purpose?
If someone chooses to be remembered for being a generous gazillionaire but at the age of 97 that was it. Or if a sinful struggling and lost soul comes to find the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and power of the Holy Spirit that comforts, heals and sustains them in this realm and for eternity, which is the greater way to focus our attention?
The Logic of the Spirit
The mind guided by the body is temporary. (The difference in Artificial Intelligence and Spiritual Reality)
It is quite likely we will find AI presenting us not only with the great convenience of not having to think, learn, nor remember. We can simply as Alexa, Siri, and Google – if not others, to search, think, calculate, suggest, and inform for us. If we ask machines of our creating to do our most valued work for us, what is that leaving us to focus our attention?
The mind governed by the flesh is
• hostile toward God,
• will not submit to God’s law, and
• cannot please God.
There are good uses for AI, if they are created more opportunity for us to focus our minds and attention on our Spirit.
A calculator, no matter how sophisticated and capable of great calculations is always limited by its power source, memory and output devices. A Spirit being has no need of power, but is fully dependent in trust of God.
What is a computer, tiny or vast, without its power supply. It is as dead as we are in the grave.
The mind guided by the Spirit is eternal. (We are Spiritual Beings in a physical realm/Experience/dimension)
The Mind Governed by the Spirit is
• born of the Spirit, connected to the source, connected to God, now and eternally
• are not bound by the realm of the flesh, the part of us that needs no food, no need to suffer.
• having God’s Spirit living in our Spirit – seeing physical is good BUT not the more important life.
• belong to God – finding our fit in the puzzle of god’s heart. Our family, our team, true full love.
The Certainty our Bodies will end.
• Even though our bodies will suffer and die, our Spirit is eternal, righteous and alive.
The Assurance that Christ alive
• The Same Spirit that was in Jesus is the same Spirit that is in us.
• God’s Spirit is working in our Spirit as our being, future, and strength.
(Rom 8:12-17) Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. [NRSA]
Which takes up back to the Spiritual Lock-in that has been assigned to us.
• There are some things I tire of looking at the same way, day after day.
• It has just been two weeks and we might have two more months. There must be more than TV, Housework, and cleaning.
• There have to be more than games, puzzles and trying to entertain one another.
• This is the opportunity of our century to set our minds on the things of Christ
• This is the great day of getting to know God, others in the church, and ourselves == in Christ.
I have spent, to the literal day, 35 years preaching, twice nearly every Sunday, leading bible studies and classes, writing Sunday School lessons, reading and continuing education in a life of being clergy. After 35 years I can’t find myself saying to God, “I know all that I need to know, I’m going to move on to something more important.’ God ALWAYS has more to reveal, more to stretch our minds and hearts AND bodies. I will spend the next 35 years doing some of the very same things, and some new things as well. God has more than wealth, more goodness, more than being correct, more than the sum of all the physical things I could do in my lifetime, God has more to reveal and experience in my life.
This is why we are eternal as Spirits.
So what’s our spiritual growth plan…
How much time do we spend reading the scriptures in a given day?
• Less than 2 minutes
• Less than 7 minutes
• Less than 15 minutes
• A half-hour
• An hour
• More than an hour?
Here is a good measure for our physical self:
• how much time do we spend sleeping – renewing our bodies? 6 hours
• How much time do we spend working to have wealth for our self and family? 8 hours
• How much time do we spend being informed and entertained in TV/phones 4 hours
• How much time do we spend procuring, preparing, consuming and cleaning? 3 hours
That leaves 2 hours for something else… If we set as a goal, throughout the day to spend 2 hours reading, praying, singing, serving/acts of charity, we would go from flirting with our faith to growing our faith.
That schedule is when the world around us is normal.
In our Spiritual Lock-in time
• On average 90 % of us are spending less time working.
• It cost no money to read the scriptures,
• sing songs of faith, listen to others sing songs of praise and hymns,
• praying is the most important and also cost no funds to listen and speak directly to with God.
• Could you imagine spending four hours a day growing your spiritual self?
• Compare that with our TV/Phone/Media time—
Notices I’m not suggesting to spend less time resting, being nourished and staying clean. There are typically what we cut short rather than work, play, and entertainment.
• Start simple: open the bible and reach a chapter. Make some notes or talk with someone about what you read.
• Pray for three minutes at mealtime, snack time, whenever you get water, coffee, tea, soda, ready for bed make some notes about what you prayed about throughout the day.
• Listen to worshipful music every chance you get. In the background surround yourself, in the foreground sing along and invite others to sing with you.
o Tomorrow read more than one chapter, and so on.
o Pray for five minutes at every break, then 6 or 7, and so on.
o Begin to add to your song list to learn new songs or find old songs that give your spiritual strength. Keep your mind on the Spirit. It is a simple prayer to start.