When Adam and Even ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they died. (Gen. 2) Not all knowledge produces life in us – quite the contrary! Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, warned us of exactly that: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12) The enemy seeks to sow seeming truths (i.e., subtle lies) into our thinking and the thinking of those around us. James points this out in chapter 3 of his letter as well: “Who is wise and understanding among you? . . . This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. . . But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3: 13, 15, 17)
James and Solomon warn us about a type of thinking that Paul refers to as having our “mind set on the flesh.” (Rom. 8) It means to think like a mere man, to think in a worldly way. Look at how Paul describes it:
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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom. 8:5-8)
There it is again! The mind that is set on the flesh, the mind filled with earthly “wisdom”, the mind that has been tempted into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil produces just what it did for Adam and Eve – death. BUT Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly! (Jn. 10:10)
Many years ago, the Lord told me “your mind is on the throne of your heart and I want to be.” Wow! That struck me! “Yes Sir and OK! What you said!” I had grown up in the world. I had been trained by the universities. I “knew better” and ran everything God’s Word said through my filter. At that point, what I had not started to do yet was to run everything the world says through the filter of God’s Word!
That’s the difference. When God’s Word becomes our authority, litmus test, standard, and plumb line, we become spiritually minded! Everything prior to that is being carnally minded. When we are carnally minded we can overlay a few spiritual ideas and concepts on top of our thinking, but our own thoughts and opinions “rule the roost.” We must become spiritually minded and test all other concepts and ideas against the Word of God – for that is what produces “life and peace!” What a promise!