Romans 8:7-8 – “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. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (ESV)
You can either live in the flesh or live in the spirit. Living in the flesh is the carnal mind, it’s the mind of the physical. Living in the spirit is the reborn mind, it’s the spirit mind having the mind of Christ by believing the truths of God. You cannot live in the spirit and live in the flesh at the same time because you cannot believe God’s truths while simultaneously believing your logical mind. By nature they oppose each other.
The problem we typically have is all the life we see, feel, hear, and taste is in the physical. The majority of our sensory perception is in the physical. And things happen in the physical. So we naturally think in the physical with our carnal mind. We work things out logically, and if something doesn’t make logical sense we can’t grasp it.
But this is the constant warfare going on within our being. God’s law, the law of the spirit, is not physical. It is not logical. Our carnal mind cannot comprehend it. And because it cannot comprehend it it does not submit to it. This is why Paul says that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God and cannot submit to God’s law.
If we want to submit to God’s spiritual laws, the supernatural laws that override the physical, the only way to do it is to get our natural mind out of the way so that our spirit mind can be at play. As an example, when you are looking at your finances and you’re concerned because you don’t have enough money and you don’t know how you’re going to make ends meet, as long as you look in the natural you become afraid. And when you become afraid you doubt God’s promises of taking care of you and his unlimited abundant provisions. But then you read God’s word and you see clearly his truths. He says if you give cheerfully to him he will make all abundance abound to you. He says to trust him and not be afraid. And as you believe his truth there’s an overwhelming peace that comes upon you that the Lord will take care of you. That is your spirit mind believing God’s truths — the fear and worry is your natural mind believing reality. God’s truths and reality oppose each other, but God’s truth always wins and alters reality when we act by faith and believe it. As long as you put to death the natural mind, as long as you put those thoughts out of your mind and only focus on the spiritual truths, God’s law, then you have the overwhelming peace of the spirit, and the Lord always takes care of you.
This is just one example of living by the spirit. What occurs at that time is you receive the supernatural provision of God’s providence working in your life. But it’s not just the financial. It’s in every aspect of the abundant life the Lord gives us. Are you sick? Then do you believe the doctor’s prognosis that you are incurable or do you believe God’s word that by his wounds you have already been healed? The hard part of believing is ignoring reality and trusting God’s word alone — to ignore the natural mind that says “it can’t be true. God’s not going to do it for you. The doctor can’t be wrong — after all, look at how much pain you have and the x-rays and the MRI. This is real!” As long as you listen to the natural mind it creates doubt in God’s truth, and, in essence, you then call God a liar. This is what happened with Adam and Eve that caused the fall — Satan created doubt in their mind about God’s truth. And once you doubt, James says let not that man expect to receive anything from the Lord. So when doubt creeps in, that’s when you’ve got to put it to death and focus in the spirit on God’s law alone.