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The Mind of the Flesh

by Jack Vorster  
9/01/2014 / Christian Living


Many Christians mistakenly believe (or understand) that the physical component of the human make-up possesses both a conscience and consciousness of its own, meaning that the human body is capable of thinking and acting independently of the human spirit as if two lives, each with a mind of its own, exist within a single human body.

The reading of Romans 8:5-7 would certainly give this impression. "For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:"

And, if we have two minds, then which of the two is being referred to in Romans 12:2? "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

To complicate matters even further, Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us that both an old man and a new man are involved in our deliberations. "...that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."

And again those two "men" enter the picture as per Colossians 3:9,10. "...lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him:"

Allow me to introduce you to both these men. The "old man" lived in ignorance until he met Jesus. He then became a "new man". However, the old man in you keeps tapping the new man in you on the shoulder in an attempt to remind you of those "good old" sinful times. So, obviously, both are the same man, but with different beliefs. This hardly seems possible when we consider 2 Cor. 5:17. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Surely, in light of the above verse, that old man should be dead, so why should he keep popping up?

Although God has forgiven and forgotten our sins upon our repentance and being born again to become a new creature in Christ, the old pages of our book of life remain. They contain all the memories of former words and deeds committed by us since we were born and are stored in the memory banks of our spirit. They form part of our personality and, therefore, part of our soul. Upon our spiritual rebirth, we start "writing" new pages in our book of life that still contains the old pages.

The new "entries" in your book of life by the new man are going to have some serious opposition from the former pages of your book of life.

These former pages are known as your "old man", made up of the recorded memories of the activities and the blueprint of your former life. They were not erased. Now this is important, if they were erased, you would have suffered from amnesia and your new life would not have had any meaning, for how would one distinguish the one from the other if one's soul is emptied of all its former content? In other words, there would be no consciousness of a past sinful life and, therefore, no need of repentance and a new, re-born life.

So, your mind is going to have to take control of the situation and assert itself when the old man comes to visit with reminders of the pleasures of the world, hence Ephesians 4:22-24. "...that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."

It is clear that it is a process of continually prevailing in a renewed state of mind until that old man withers away in the former pages of your book of life and the new man reigns supreme, more and more conforming to the image of Christ. Only then will the old man be truly dead and forgotten. And if any person tries to revive that old man by reminding you of your past, you could say to that person, "Really, why don't you ask God about that?"

This brings us to the opening paragraph of this article. All of our thinking, deliberations and decision-making processes take place in our spirit. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah17:9).

Absolutely nothing is conjured up by our flesh, that is, the physical body. And neither is the human brain capable of any such task. "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26)

An unsaved person is spiritually dead in the sense that he spiritually separated from God. He is oblivious of the fact that he is alive for no other reason that he still has a spirit and is, therefore, able to fill his mind and spirit with the ways of the flesh, which are in opposition to the will of God for man. He has a "mind of the flesh". Such a person believes that his consciousness and individuality are seated in his bodily make-up and that he is a brain-controlled creature. He does not realise that his individuality, consciousness, intellect and emotions are seated in his spirit and that all of his memories are "stored" in his spirit.

Unfortunately, many Christians also think that they are brain-controlled creatures, which is why many are unable to grasp spiritual truths and apply them in their lives.

It is quite probable that the mind part of the spirit within the human body is positioned exactly where the physical brain is located, which would explain why we feel as if our thinking is taking place in the brain and why we have a tendency to point to our head when indicating to others that we are busy thinking.

It is the mind of the spirit that does all the thinking, sets the intellectual processes in motion and extracts memory from the "filing cabinets" of the spirit. The brain can be likened to a robotic mechanism plugged in to power and on standby for instruction from the spiritual mind to perform a physical function, such as the movement of limbs and, importantly, to form and speak the words of the spirit. In other words, the body conveys (by word or deed) what the spirit within thinks.

But without the spirit of man and thus the spirit of the mind the brain is dead. ("For as the body without the spirit is dead...").

Logically, should the body succumb through illness or accidentally, the spirit will no longer have a physical body to personify what it (the spirit) thinks or feels. The spirit (the real you) then departs and enters eternity the destination being a predetermined choice between Heaven and hell. That's when worldly achievements, pleasures and blissful retirement plans have no more meaning.

Now retired, Jack Vorster has a background in marketing in the field of newspaper advertising. As a result of a life-changing experience he turned his attention to the study of the human make-up and the realities connected to human behaviour based on the Word of God.

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