5 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[e]set their minds on the things of the Spirit.[f] 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit[g] is life and peace.
One of the greatest freedoms we have in our lives is the ability to choose what we reflect on, what we think about. Confronted with the same situation, we can respond to it in an infinite number of ways. So many of the things that happen in our lives are beyond our control. Yet we do have quite a bit of say over how we respond to those things. The scriptures call on us to aim our thoughts at the good, the true, and the important and away from the petty, the pessimistic, and the harmful.
The “ways of the flesh” that the scriptures talk about aren’t simply related to physical pleasures. The point isn’t that we should reject pleasure and spend all of our time thinking about our religious lives. Instead, our religious lives are supposed to help us respond in a healthier way to the things that happen to us.
Other people can drive us crazy. They can be cruel, insensitive, and selfish. But we still get to choose how we respond to those people. And when we set our minds on the spiritual goodness of our world, we can overcome being “driven crazy” and we can experience true peace.