I love this whole chapter. As our pastor says, it begins with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation". In the verses recorded above, we are challenged as to our focus. Verse 5 has also been worded, "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." "Setting our minds"-- we all set our minds on something. We all devote much energy and time dwelling on one thing or another. In this passage, we are challenged as to what the content of our thoughts is. It could be our upcoming schedules, the interesting week we just had, our schoolwork, our jobs, a certain person, a new movie we just watched... But wait! What does this say? "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." If we are living fleshly, unChristlike lives, it will be fleshly, unChristlike things that fill our minds. But if we are filling the resovoirs of our hearts with Christ, and if we are living a life to please Him, our thoughts, too, will be filled with Christ. If your thoughts are like the former, beware! The "carnal mind" (a mind set on the flesh) is enmity with (hostile to) God! To not be Christlike is to be fleshly; not to be heavenly minded is to be earthly minded. Fleshly-mindedness (if that is a word :-) ) is directly opposed to all that Christ would have us to be like.
In Colossians 3, He calls us to "set your affection on (STRONGS gives the idea of "exercising" the mind" or "entertaining thoughts") things above, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." We are to die to the things of the world, and live our lives through Christ. If we are doing this, Christ will fill our hearts and minds.
I am not saying we cannot turn our thoughts to any earthly things. Moms need to think about planning meals; kids need to diligently apply themselves to their schoolwork; I as an author will need to devote time to my books and articles. But through all this, there out to be an ever-present awareness of the Saviour, and we should often come back to Him in our thoughts and hearts and commune with Him.
Allow me to give an example of this in an outward sense. My good friend Leahna and I have delightful conversations on all sorts of subjects. But I've noticed that nearly all the time the conversation somehow ends up back on the things of the Lord: what He's been teaching us, what His Word says about this or that, and so on. It is the same with several other of my girl- and lady-friends. These friendships are so encouraging because they point me towards the Lord. Now, let's apply that to our very thought life. All we think should somehow still come back to the Lord of glory and His Word and ways.
I find myself so guilty, though. Driving two hours to church both ways each Sunday, my mind is often filled with daydreaming and thinking about entertainments and other things like that, when I ought to be meditating on Christ's character, reciting Scripture, and reminding myself of His ways and word. This is an area where I really desire to change. I want to "put off" a worldly mind and "put on" a heavenly mind.
Now you evaluate: What is consuming your thoughts and your time? If you have time of doing nothing, which leaves you just to think, what do your thoughts revolve around? What do you think? Imagine, if we filled our minds with that, how much farther along we would be in our spiritual lives! Let us fill our minds with Christ today!