“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law– indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6 – 8)
We are so conscious of our bodies these days, beloved reader. We take its temperature, monitor its coughing and sneezing, and tend to its physical needs with household items and food. Our bodies, and the bodies of others are upper most on our minds. But that is not a far representation of who humanity is. We are are more than sinew and bone, cells and immune systems. Paul differentiates (as was the understanding of human life back then) between our bodies and our minds. The needs of the body were to be set aside so as to better focus on the needs of the spirit. We understand now though that the body and the mind are so linked together that one cannot be considered about from the other. We have been “healed” of that erroneous notions.
“But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (Verse 9)
Barnes says it very well when he says that Christians are “Not under the full influence of corrupt desires and passions” but “are spiritually minded . . . . under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.” This effectively puts to rest the division of body concerns being bad and intellect being good. It depends on where you put your time and energies to. Right now, beloved reader, the whole world is putting its mind and energy towards stopping the spread of the corona virus. No continent has been spared – no, beloved reader, not one.
Now, I have to admit that Paul’s supposedly uplifting news is not readily applicable to the current medical and health situation that all of humanity is dealing with. And I think Paul would be one of the first to admit that. But I think what Paul would say is that this gives us some hope and direction. Hope because we, meaning humanity, is greater than the sum of our functioning and non-functioning body parts. It is the human spirit in each member of humanity that we are working to heal and save. And that spirit survives death, if that is the course of the illness. And it gives up direction. Since each member of humanity does have an eternal spirit, we should honor and work towards everyone’s health and well-being which brings up to the need of making sacrifices in our daily lives. And lifting up in prayer those who are our neighbors both next to us and around the globe. As I said, beloved reader, in every nation and on every continent! All are vulnerable!
“But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (verses 10 – 11)
Each day as the magnitude of this virus becomes more apparent, we have to dig deeper to find hope. And the endurance to keep moving forward. The will to work towards the good of others, and the good will to work together. May the Spirit who unites us all through the Divine be with each of you in the days to come. Selah!