Romans 8:6 states, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” This verse emphasizes being spiritually minded over being driven by the flesh, stating the benefit of the former as leading to life and peace. Being spiritually minded involves focusing on matters of the Spirit and nurturing spiritual desires as opposed to worldly ones. While the natural man lives only to satisfy his desires, the spiritual Christian lives to please the Spirit. Let’s explore what it means to have a spiritual mindset in practical terms:
1. Living for the gospel. People use the word spiritual in abstract ways, but for Christians spiritual living revolves around the gospel. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, creating a new life when we place our trust in Christ and His sacrificial work for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:17). Beyond believing in the gospel, spiritually minded Christians become a witness to it both in word and deed. They share the message and ensure that their conduct is in line with what they believe (Philippians 1:27). The gospel is not basic teaching to outgrow. On the contrary, we grow with the gospel.
2. Displaying the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a metaphor for the character traits the Holy Spirit cultivates in those who yield to His influence and desires. These include “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Spiritually minded Christians strive to exhibit this fruit in their lives by aligning themselves with the desires of the Spirit.
3. Feeding on the Word. Spiritually minded Christians recognize the renewal that comes from reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture (Romans 12:2). The Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind, demonstrating who God is and what He expects from His children. Therefore, feeding on the Word should be a delight rather than a chore. Sound teachers are also helpful, and we can benefit from appropriate spiritual resources.
4. Praying. In addition to diving into Scripture, spiritually minded Christians also commune with God in prayer. They pray to fellowship with the Father, acknowledge their dependence on Him, and present their requests while submitting to His will. They also seek grace to live by the Spirit, recognizing that it is God who enables them to fulfill His good purpose (Philippians 2:13).
5. Fellowshipping with other believers. Recognizing the positive value of peer pressure, spiritually minded Christians prioritize the gathering of the saints. In the local church, struggling believers find resources, and backslidden souls can reignite their zeal. Christians are not called to be lone wolves but to remain in the “pack” with other committed believers. Proverbs 27:17’s analogy of iron sharpening iron highlights the beauty of fellowship. In the church there is growth, forgiveness, love, grace, and the motivation for godliness.
6. A new view of suffering. Suffering is inevitable in a broken world, but the spiritually minded Christian finds a purpose through the trials and pains of life. As Paul affirmed, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5). Suffering can come from loss, sickness, struggles with sinful desires or even persecution. Whatever the case, it is a refining process and ultimately meaningful. We are also promised comfort in hard times (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).
7. Intimacy with God. Like a good spouse in a healthy marriage, spiritually minded Christians foster intimacy with God. This includes worship, prayers, studying the Word, fellowshipping with other Christians, walking in the Spirit, and living a godly life. Those who live by the Spirit understand that they have a relationship with the Father that redefines everything. They love Him by obeying His commands and upholding His values. Intimacy with God is demonstrated by the indwelling of the Spirit and our union with Christ, which shapes our identity, attitudes, and views.
Overall, spiritually minded Christians are gospel-centered, fruitful, biblically literate, prayerful, active in a local church, and have a renewed view of life.