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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6.
How you live is a by-product of what you think. We are reminded of this truth in today’s scripture and I am reminded of an old proverb.
Sow a thought, reap a deed
Sow a deed, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character
If your life is reflective of the Spirit, then it is almost assuredly true that your reflect on the things of the Spirit in your mind. If you life does not reflect the Spirit then it is time to take a hard look at the focus of your mind.
So what are things of the Spirit upon which we should focus our minds? The first thing that comes to mind for me is unity. When Paul addressed the conflict between Jews and Gentiles in the first letter to the Corinthians he noted,
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
He also urged the Ephesians to maintain peace saying,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Obviously, walking in the spirit involves actively working on peace and unity. The journey toward community begins in the mind. You first judge a person in your mind. You first speak a hurtful word in your mind. You first lie, gossip or slander in your mind. You first consider forgiving in your mind. You first consider letting go of a hurt in your mind. To win the battle for peace, you must surrender first to the peace of the Spirit in your mind.
Holy Spirit, take captive my every thought of my neighbor. May I only think that which will lead to greater unity, greater encouragement, and greater love.
May every ugly thought be tempered by your grace.
May every angry thought be softened and washed away by your unconditional love.
May every envious thought be satisfied by the knowledge that all I need you have already provided.
May every impure thought be purified by your holiness.
May every judgmental thought be abandoned for words of encouragement.
Holy Spirit, by your holy fire forge within me a burning passion for peacemaking.
If you are new to this series of post you may want to read the post, A Protestant Novena, A Dose of the Ghost.