Romans 8:6 says, “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”
There are three parts of the soul- the mind, emotion & the will. The mind as the thinking organ of the soul represents the self. What we think and consider always precedes what we do; therefore, our mind represents our self.
We must all be impressed with this clear picture: Satan is in us, Christ is in us, and the self stands in the middle. The enemy tempts us to do good by our own effort, and the usual response is, “I love the Lord and belong to the Lord; therefore, I want to do good to please Him.” This is the temptation. When we are independent and making up our mind to do good by our own strength, we are being tempted, and we will surely be defeated. We may be able to do good today, tomorrow, and possibly even for three days, but we certainly will not be able to keep it up for three and a half days. The lesson we need to learn is never to be independent and try to do things in our own strength, but always to depend on the Lord. Whenever we are tempted to do good by our own effort, we need to tell the enemy, “No, Satan! I cannot and will not go that way. I don’t know anything about doing good; I know only one thing—to depend on my Lord. I will not be drawn away from leaning on Him.”
We must see something about laws. We all know what a law is. If I pick up a book and throw it into the air, it will inevitably fall to the earth. This happens because of the law of gravity. But let me do something against this law, such as lifting a book with my hand and holding it in the air for two or three hours. I can sustain this for a while, but finally I will have to give up. Why? Because my own effort cannot stand against the law of gravity. Our personal effort cannot contradict the natural law. In the morning we may say to ourselves, “I need to be patient. I must not lose my temper. I must endure for a whole day.” Perhaps we can be patient for even two days, but on the third day we will lose our temper in a big way. Losing our temper is the result of the law of sin; not losing our the temper is the issue of our own effort. Being proud also is the result of a law operating within us. None of us has ever graduated from a “school of pride.” Nevertheless, even a little child knows how to be proud. Parents never teach their children to be proud. How then can they be proud? Pride comes from our nature, and this sinful nature is a law, the law of sin within us.
Let us go back to the illustration of holding a book in the air. If I see a table in front of me, it would be foolish for me to exert my effort to hold the book in the air. The table represents another law—the law of a solid support versus the law of gravity. I can lay the book on the table and shout Hallelujah. I can leave it there and be at peace. The book is perfectly safe on the table, because the law of a solid support overcomes the law of gravity. Who is the real support? It is Christ as the rock (2 Sam. 22:3; Matt. 16:18). And where is this Christ? He is in our spirit. Therefore, we can set our mind on the spirit and “leave the book on the table.” We can forget about our own effort. We should never make up our mind to do good. We should never say, “Before, I was cruel to my husband (or wife, or someone else); now, today, I determine to be kind.” We may be kind for a day or two, but we cannot last much longer than that. We should never try to make any resolutions. It does not work. Within us is Christ, the everlasting rock. He is in us as our “table,” as our rock. We should simply set our mind on Him all the time, leave ourselves on the rock, and go to sleep. This is the way of victory and release. When we set our mind on the spirit, we simply hand ourselves over to Christ. When we rely on Him, we simply say to Him, “Lord, here I am, hopeless and helpless. From now on I will never try to make up my mind to do anything. I give my mind to You. I set my mind on You.” By doing this, we hand ourselves over to the Lord. The Lord then has the ground and the opportunity to spread Himself through us and saturate us with Himself. How wonderful!
(Chapter 20, The Economy of God)
“Lord, I only depend on You. Cause me to set my mind only in the spirit. Cause me to live only in Your presence. Truly, self-effort is vain. You are the real Rock, my real Solid-support.”