And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
" The" spiritual mind" is the mind that seeks to be a true worshipper of God. Jesus said in John 4:24: "God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him (God) in spirit and in truth. Jesus lets us know right off the bat that this is the "only way" we can truly worship him. Any believer who possesses a spiritual mind knows that communion with God is not possible with a carnal mind. The spiritual mind will come to a believer when he or she first have a single mind that is focused on the will of God, and second, when they become submissive in mind toward God, earnestly seeking to please him and him alone, and following the advice of King Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6 "acknowledging the Lord in all of their ways". The bible said in Romans 8:7 “The carnal mind is enmity with God”. This means, when we are carnal minded in our thinking and actions, we are in direct opposition with the will and the way of God. The spiritual mind will equip us to fight the good fight of faith that is found in Christ Jesus, laying hold onto eternal life, and to recognize that we are fighting a spiritual war and not a carnal one. (1 Timothy 6:12)
Ephesians 6:12 lets us know we fight against powers, principalities, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. The spiritual mind teaches us that the weapons that we use to fight the spiritual battle are spiritual themselves and not carnal. They are mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down every imaginations and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:4- 6) The spiritual mind will bring every single thought into captivity and into the obedience of Jesus Christ. The spiritual mind influences the child of God in 3 areas:
A. Salvation. (The Christian’s past) In Philippians 3:1- 11, Paul gave his personal testimony that there is no salvation under the law. Salvation can only come through profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said when he found Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road, everything he thought mattered by keeping the Law of Moses and having “law” righteousness became meaningless. He said in verse 7 “For what things he counted as gain before he met Jesus now count as losses”. He found more excellence in obtaining knowledge of and in Jesus Christ than all of the former knowledge he obtained as a Pharisee and sitting under Gamilel his mentor and instructor. He speaks further about losing everything for the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Lord and compared all of these things as trash., dung, or manure. Paul realized "true righteousness" is by faith in Jesus Christ and all righteousness is in God, thus all he wanted from that moment on is to know Christ, the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings and to conform to his death, in any way to obtain the resurrection. (verses 8- 11)
When the spiritual mind is at work in a believer, it will do the same thing to us it did to Paul. It awakens us to the fact that the righteousness we had before our confession of faith in Jesus was of the Law. We then will find out that this kind of righteousness (righteousness of the Law) is like “filthy” rags in the sight of God because we are unclean and in our uncleanness, our iniquities are carried away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6) The "spiritual minded" person not only wants to be saved, but also wants to know the inner workings of salvation. They will want to live a Christ centered life because they want to know Jesus on a personal basis. This person will not be satisfied with Jesus Christ being just their Savior. They will want him to become their Lord.
B. Sanctification. (The Christian’s present) Philippians 3:12- 16, Paul continued to grow because he recognized that he had not become full grown (mature in the faith) at this point. He had what is called by C.T. Schofield “positional” perfection, that is, he was saved and was made perfect by God when he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior on the road to Damascus, but he realized though he had not attained everything else needed yet. (3:12) Paul knew that he had not fully matured nor had he reached perfection. He had not attained what Schofield called the “ultimate” perfection, that is, "total maturity" in his mind, body and soul. He had not yet finished the race that God had set before him and he knew it. Paul was in the state of what is called “relative” perfection. In “relative” perfection, there were weights that Paul still had to lay aside and putting down and other strongholds (sins) that easily beset him. (Hebrews 12:1- 2) Paul knew in order to run the race, he had to focus (look onto) Jesus to orchestrate his running path and to finish the maturing process in him so he could and would finish this race. He had to consider the pain and agony Jesus suffered for our salvation and the endurance he had to have to hang on the cross at Calvary innocent and having done no wrong. Paul knew that whatever work (spiritual, psychological, and physical) God started in him, he was assured that God would finish that work. (Philippians 1:6)
Every believer has this assurance for God as well. God never starts anything without finishing it. Whenever the believer embraces this truth in their own lives, they will grow to become single minded, become submissive minded, and walk in the ways of God with a spiritual mindset. They will finally realize that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ, because that person lives their life with a spiritual attitude and not a carnal one. (Romans 8:1- 2) Sanctification in the purest sense is the process of constant spiritual growth, daily growing and maturing into the person God intended you to be. The sanctification process is ongoing. Just like Paul, we are too at present in the state of “relative” perfection. That is, we are striving to obtain the ultimate perfection in Jesus Christ in mind, body and in our souls.
We must become single minded about the work Jesus has set before you and totally focused upon him for the help needed to do it. You must have a submissive mind and submit to the Holy Spirit and let him take total control in every area of your personal life. In having the spiritual mind, you must trust the Lord with all of your heart, not leaning to your own understanding of spiritual matters, but acknowledging God in all of your ways, allowing him to direct your path in all things. (Proverbs 3:5- 6) This is the purpose of sanctification and it is an ongoing process as we live each day. Every day the believer should be a little more mature and closer in their relationship with God than the day before, especially in the area of submitting and doing the will of God. Whereas salvation frees us from the penalty of sin, (death and separation from God) sanctification, on the other hand empowers us to be free from the power of sin and the principalities, rulers of the darkness of this world, and the spiritual wickedness that is in high places. We are being made perfect. The spiritual mind helps us to become perfected in holiness, (2 Corinthians 7:1) perfected in love, (Colossians 4:12) perfected in patience, ((James 1:4) and perfected in and toward every good work. (Hebrews 13:21)
Paul said, that I may lay hold to that Christ Jesus has laid hold for me. (3:13) Paul sought to obtain perfect knowledge of Jesus, pure and unadulterated. He sought to understand the power of Jesus’ death on the cross. He wanted to understand and fully grasp that rugged cross, the gospel, and its power to save and to change the life of an unbeliever. He implored the church at Philippi to walk together in the Spirit of Christ with the same spiritual mindset as they strive to press toward the “mark” for the prize of the “high” (upward) call of God. We must realize that for the Christian, we must become “perfected” saints and we must strive daily to obtain “moral” perfection. Our ultimate goal is to live according to God’s moral standard for life and personal conduct.
As believers in the faith, as we mature as Christians and strive to become fit examples in the body of Christ. To do so, we must not focus so much on those things (good or bad that happened to us in the past directly or indirectly, we must rather press forward to the goal God has set in our lives and strive daily to reach that goal. If we look back too much upon the things of the past, we will be swayed to go back to those “former” things. We must strive toward seeking the “perfect” knowledge of Christ and to grasp the full meaning of what Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary really meant. Isaiah 53:3- 12 gives us the “layout” of how God’s plan of salvation worked through in the life of Jesus Christ and how we, through his plan, benefited from every ounce of suffering he endured before and on the cross. We must grasp the power of his suffering in our behalf and the “pleasure” God took in allowing Jesus to be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, healed by his stripes, chastised for our peace, bearing our grief and carrying our sorrows, in the midst of our not giving him the esteem he rightfully deserved. The church as a whole must seek to become the church that believe in the same Lord, live and conduct the business of God with and in the same faith and under the same baptism. If there be anyone among us who doesn’t hold to the same perspectives in Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost will reveal it to those who this applies to. With the spiritual mind, we can press on the upward way.
C. Glorification. (The Christian’s future) One day in the near or distant future, (only God knows which) God will judge the world and all who have lived in it in times past for all of their deeds, whether they were good or bad. Paul exhorted the church to mark every example set before them of the behaviors of the saints and follow only those examples that glorified Jesus Christ. In Philippians 3:17- 21, Paul was not speaking against those scoffers, (unbelievers) who have no knowledge of Christ at all, rather, he spoke against the Pharisees, scribes, and other religious factions who claimed to live for God. These temple leaders had religious practice in their life, but their lives were not doctrinally sound examples of true Christianity. They had a form or godliness, but they denied the real power. (2 Timothy 3:5) Jesus told them they were like vipers, preaching the law without practicing love. Paul once called himself the “chief” among Pharisees, trained and educated, having a “fanatic” zeal for the Law. Jesus said that it will be a sad day for them on the day of their judgment. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone that cries to me Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of Heaven but he that does the will of my Father”. Jesus said on that day many will cry out Lord didn’t we prophesy in your name and in your name cast out devil and in your name did many wonderful works. On that day Jesus will tell them I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity.
We are to mark those leaders that follow the example of true discipleship and practice true Christianity as set forth by God and the example Jesus Christ lived while he was physically here on this earth. We are to also mark those false teachers and false practitioners of Christianity and avoid living their examples. Paul says to the church follow me as I follow Christ. We are to strive to be the type of Christ-like followers that will please the Lord. It is in our following leaders that exhibit the “fruit” of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22- 26) that we are enabled to become the same type of leaders ourselves. While we all have to agree that no one is perfect yet, we can still glean from their lives those qualities that are Christ like and learn from those examples. Jesus is primary example. Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul. (Matthew 11:29- 30) My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
We are admonished to have pure, honorable intentions and live our lives with Christian integrity as we strive to do the will of our Father in heaven. The true “motives” of those Jesus talked about will be their undoing at judgment. We must make sure as we live that we live for the “sole purpose” of doing the will of God and to live in a way that will lift Jesus higher to this world that is steeped in the darkness if sin. It would be a tragedy to go to hell from the church, to be denied by Jesus before the Father because in our real motives, we were in fact denying him, though it appeared to the public as though we were being sincere. Unfortunately, many of our leaders have a ”form” of godliness in physical and public appearance, yet deeply entrenched within their evil hearts, God sees their real unholy motives. (Their hearts are far from God.) Paul said their god is in their bellies, (verse 19) because they were more concerned about their sensual and financial appetites, rather then the ministry to God’s people.
Paul said we are to live now on earth with the attitude that our citizenship of heaven has already come to pass. Paul said in Philippians 3:20 our citizenship is in heaven, and from heaven we await the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to come (the second time) and transform our mortal bodies (lowly bodies) into immortal bodies (glorious bodies) like his, changing our corruption into incorruption.