Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever];
Romans 8:6 AMP
Reality, Carnal or Spiritual?
Carnal-mindedness doesn’t necessarily mean sinful-mindedness. All sin is carnal, but not all carnality is sin. “Carnal” means “sensual,” or of the five senses. Carnal-mindedness is allowing your mind to be dominated by what you can see, taste, hear, smell and feel. You are carnally minded when your thoughts center primarily on the physical realm.
Even in the natural, you’ve learned to believe in things you can’t see. Radio and television signals constantly surround you. Microwaves heat your food. Because of germs, you wash your hands, whether they look dirty or not. Although these physical things can’t be seen, you're still very aware of their presence in your life.
However, there's also an entire spiritual world - including realities within you - that exists beyond your natural perception. Your brain and five senses can’t perceive it, but your soul can through God’s Word. By faith, you can believe things that can’t physically be seen!
Let Peace Flow!
Spiritual - mindedness releases the flow of God’s life in us, but carnal - mindedness shuts it off. Simply stated, carnal -mindedness=death, and spiritual-mindedness=life and peace (Rom. 8:6).
“Death” refers to anything that’s a result of sin. This isn’t limited only to the ultimate physical death of your body, but includes all of death’s progressive effects as well (i.e., sadness, loneliness, bitterness, illness, anger, poverty, etc.). In this fallen world, being dominated by your natural senses produces death.
But spiritual-mindedness produces life and peace. Jesus declared:
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life’=’ (John 6:63b)
When your thoughts are dominated by what the Word says, you're spiritually minded.
It doesn’t matter what your physical circumstances might be. God can keep you in perfect peace!
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Is. 26:3)
As your mind stays on Him, your soul agrees with your spirit, and God’s peace is released into your soul and body. Your born-again spirit is always in perfect peace. It’s just a matter of drawing it out!
On the other hand, we won’t experience the peace within when our mind stays on our problems. Peace-an emotion- is linked to the way we think! Your lack of peace isn’t because of any circumstance or person; it’s just that we have allowed our minds to be dominated by what we can see, taste, hear, smell and feel.. We are busy thinking about the potential damage, considering what the problem has done to others, and hashing through their opinions on the subject. All the while. God’s peace has been present in our spirit, but we haven't drawn it out. Open that closed valve and let peace flow!
Alienated Through Ignorance
We as believers should not live as lost people who are trapped in their carnal, physical world.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Ephesians 4:17 KJV
In context, a Gentile was a non-Jew, someone not in covenant relationship with God. In other words, unbelievers don’t use their minds to perceive to perceive spiritual truth.
Having the understanding darkened, Ephesians 4:18a KJV
If we don’t renew our mind and use it to study and meditate God's Word, it will automatically gravitate toward what we can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel. This darkens our understanding .
Understanding is the application of knowledge. Knowledge puts food into your mouth and chews. Understanding actually swallows and digests it so that the beneficial nutrients can be released into your body.
The knowledge of God is critical, but it must be understood to be useful. Without understanding, you can’t release the life that’s in it.
When a Christian walks like an unbeliever, they get the same results-death. Believers who don’t understand and apply the knowledge of God in their lives gravitate toward carnal-mindedness. Without spiritual knowledge and understanding, your mind can’t be renewed, and the life of God in your spirit can’t be released. That’s why understanding this revelation of spirit, soul, and body is the first step toward walking in life and peace!
When a believer’s understanding is darkened, they are:
“Alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart”
Ephesians 4:18b KJV
In other words, the life of God is still there, but they are alienated from it due to ignorance, which refers to the mind. This is where most Christians live their lives - separated from the life of God within due to their own ignorance of spiritual truth.
In His Word, God declares that by His stripes, you were healed (1 Pet. 2:24). You look at your at yourself and ask, “Is hat cancerous tumor gone?” Still feeling pain, emotionally drained, and fearful, you continue, “God says I’m healed, but I’m not. It’s still there, so I must not be healed.” By adopting that attitude, you’ve allowed your fives senses to dominate you more than God’s Word. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you, but you didn’t believe it (Eph. 1:18-20).
18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 1:18-20 KJV
You let your mind be controlled by what it saw in the physical realm more than by the spiritual realm. Therefore, even though you have the resurrection life of God in your spirit, it won’t manifest in the physical realm because you’re carnally minded, which equals death.
Engine or Caboose?
Lasciviousness (lustfulness), is being controlled by what you feel.
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Ephesians 4:19 KJV
There is a godly type of feeling. You don’t just deny that your senses exist. However, most people have gone beyond simply receiving sensory input to being dominated by it. They’ve left what God intended feelings to be and entered into lasciviousness - where feelings run their lives.
Feelings should be the caboose, not the engine. They were designed to follow what you think, not lead the way. When you let the caboose act like the engine in your life, you’ll find yourself either going nowhere or heading straight for a train wreck. For a believer, this should not be!