4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
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. – Romans 8:4-8
In this passage Paul emphasises that if we set our mind on things of the flesh we cannot please God. The New Testament reveals that the battles we fight are often in the mind. Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law so that we could walk with the spirit of God. God wants us to be ruled by His Spirit. The flesh will war against the Spirit trying to maintain its old control. This battle occurs in our mind and heart. Jesus had to face the cruel punishment of the cross. His whole human being would have been against doing this. Even to the extent that the extreme stress He experienced produced blood that mixed with His sweat (Hematidrosis):
And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. – Luke 22:44
But Jesus set His mind on the things of the Spirit, to do His Father’s will. Jesus, even though He was the eternal author of life, submitted Himself to obey His Father’s will. To be led by the Spirit of God to give His life so the many would live:
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28
The flesh battles against God because it does not want to be crucified and surrender to God Almighty and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord:
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:24
It is sad to admit that we are going to be dominated by something. Our culture tells us to be free, “just do it”, be our own person, do what we want to do but that is to be dominated by the flesh. To be free we need to be dominated by the Spirit of God. We who believe in Jesus are now in a different kingdom, the kingdom of God. Therefore we need to think differently, setting our mind on the Spirit. We also need to act differently living according to the Spirit. If we live with the flesh dominating us we do not please God. But we have the Spirit of God so that we can do the will of the Father:
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:40
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. – Luke 10:21