Romans 8:5 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
How do we set our minds on the things of earth or the things of the Spirit? What does that look like? I am no expert in this, but I think Paul is trying to convey the idea that if the whole of our life is set on thinking about our work, kids, schooling or recreation..., we are setting our minds on fleshly things. None of these are intrinsically bad, but if they distract us from keeping our minds set on God they lead to death.
We can trade death for life and peace though; which is a great trade. To do this we must just set our minds on the things of the Spirit. But what does that look like in everyday life? The possibilities are endless but maybe these will help keep our minds and hearts focused where they should be.
When a trial comes, don't think about how bad it is, remind yourself that God is in control and He is using all the events of our lives to build us up. Remind yourself that God is good and He wants what is best for us.
When we sin against God and He chastens us, remember that He is the loving, perfect Father who knows actually what the punishment should be and how much to give with a goal for our sanctification and completeness. He disciplines those He loves to bring the relationship back to wholeness.
According to the flesh might be talking about what you have just done and how you are making such an impact where you are. According to the Spirit is the same exact situation, but understanding that any good we can do is only from God and that He is the One who gives the increase.
God wants and deserves our humble praise. He loves a broken and a contrite heart. There is no room on this relationship for pride. If we are to boast, it is only in Him. There is none who compare with Him, so boasting in anything else is just wasted words.
Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus' mind and heart were set on the joy set before Him, even though the only way to get there was the cross, it was His joy to be our Propitiation; our Sacrifice. His mind was set on Heaven, not on this earth. Even though He is the Creator of this earth, He lived as an alien and a stranger here, because He knew His rightful place was at the right hand of The Father.
Jesus prayed all the time; constantly talking to the Father. When we pray w/o ceasing we are living according to the Spirit. It is difficult to live according to the flesh when we are constantly in communication with the Father.
The eternal perspective is what we need to have in focus throughout our day. "What is God trying to teach me here?" Whatever we are in currently is just a light and momentary affliction on the way Home. When we know we are close to home we can endure a lot because we know rest is waiting for us there. Keep looking to Heaven. It will be here before you know it and we don't want to waste the little time we have here trying to get ahead for such a short time.
Think eternal thoughts. Meditate on God's promises to you. Recount His faithfulness to His people and, even more personally, to you. Encourage a brother or sister. Walk in newness of life. Speak to each other in songs, hymns and spiritual songs and make melody in your hearts, toward God. Don't let idols on the throne of your heart. Ask God to give you spiritual fervor.
Ps. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.