Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Romans 8:5 NIV
Throughout the early part of this eighth chapter of Romans, Paul contrasts living according to the flesh with living according to the Spirit. Living according to the flesh is our natural state. It is living to satisfy our human appetites and desires. In contrast is living according to the Spirit, in obedience to the Spirit of God living within us. The former results in death, while the latter is life and peace (Rom. 8:6).
In Romans 8:5, Paul gives us a test that will help us know if we are living according to the flesh or the Spirit. What do you most commonly think about? Is it what you want? Or what the Spirit desires? What gives you joy and happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life?
Throughout each day, we are faced with countless decisions. What will we wear, eat, go, and do? Do we seek and follow the direction of the Spirit of God, including him in every aspect of our lives? Or do we seldom give any thought to where the Spirit might lead?
According to Paul, if we live according to the flesh rather than according to the Spirit, then we do not belong to Christ (Rom. 9:9). But if we live according to the Spirit, then Christ is in us, and we have life.
This is really what discipleship is all about—surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus and following where his Spirit leads. That is where true life is found.