"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." --Rom 8:6
Most of the time and much of the problem . . . is that we are caught operating from the carnal mind. I have written and spoke of the importance especially in these days to using the spiritual mind. There is a world of difference between the two . . . literally.
Those caught in the worldly, or "carnal mind" . . . do not understand the distinction. The "spiritual mind" is NOT simply the carnal mind crammed with "good thoughts" . . . mystical ideas . . . willed "positive thinking", though this is the general trap into which most stumble.
In my early days of seeking I met many such people . . . new age or Eastern mystic types . . . who had filled their minds with and followed various "spiritual" concepts . . . shunning what they considered "unenlightened" habits and ways of thinking . . . but there was always the sense that these self-conceived "spiritual people" . . . were actually seething deeper within. Nothing had really changed in them deep down. It was all still there--lust, greed, envy, pride--but they kept a lid on it and then just piled on top of the lid "good karma", positive attitude, uncritical tolerance, "non-judgmentalism", "living in the moment", etc.
All still operating from the carnal mind . . . but just cleverly gilded with rainbows and fairy dust; while a sneering monster lay hungry and angling, hidden below the surface. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . . . " --2 Tim 3:5
Many Christians do the same thing. On top, for outward show and even with good intentions, there is the mushy gushy facade of fellowship, clean living, and championing of "correct doctrine" . . . while lurking in the shadows is a contentious, jealous, territorial, self-righteous and prideful Machiavelli . . . who thinks to win God's favor and gain exalted status in The Body . . . through good works and "stamping out corruption".
The problem is . . . that the carnal mind, designed to work in a world of time/space and matter, by its nature, operates . . . to survive and "win". If you follow certain rules and principles--laws--and excel at them, then you will "progress" . . . to greater security, power and influence. Survive and thrive . . . of the fittest.
Spiritual mind "operates" from and for . . . an whole different world--a different reality. The Kingdom is inverse of the fallen world, and so, Its characteristics tend to reflect from the (carnal) world in direct opposition.
As in, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
And, "Blessed are the POOR in spirit . . . .
"Blessed are they who MOURN . . . .
"Blessed are the MEEK . . . . "
To the carnal mind, a statement like this makes no sense whatsoever, and is, in fact abhorrent: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty . . . . " --1 Cor. 1:27
I must mention the Mormon religion here because it is such a quintessential example of a religious system based in the carnal mind. The allure to the carnal mind is all there . . . with the crowning achievement of WORKS resulting in attaining GODHOOD and the "Celestial" (highest) heaven!
The system devised by Joseph Smith appeals to pride, vanity, LUST even . . . but cleverly cloaked in a semblance of Jesus and Christian righteousness. The carnal mind analyzes:
"You mean . . . if I follow all these rules and "ordinances" . . . laws and principles . . . and do it better than everyone else . . . I can Lord it over my own world and universe? And have continuous sex with a physical body with hundreds, maybe thousands of "goddesses"? I'll take it!"
Meanwhile, a person with a spiritual mind . . . has been brought to the place of a spirit of true repentance (been "dressed down", as I say) . . . shown by God what they really are . . . and lays broken, destitute, poor, weak, and knowing itself an utter failure--a wretch, sinful, fallen and dying . . . .
And says, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Take me over, remake me. Let no more awful thing come from me, but only what YOU want of me. I quit. I surrender. I submit!"
The spiritual mind does not look for ways to impress God so as to boast. It does not try to INVEIGLE (win over by wile and ingenuity) its way to perfection, to power, to status, to self respect . . . like, for instance, the L.D.S. do with a 10 page checklist of "good works": Tithing - check, temple work - check, sealed in the temple - check, secret handshake - check, memorized oaths - check, accept "calling" - check, bear testimony - check, and so on . . . and so on . . . and on . . . and on . . . (it has been estimated there are over 4 thousand rules and laws a Mormon must adhere to and follow "faithfully" . . . to warrant entrance into the "Celestial Kingdom" . . . and even then, you still will have to get Joseph's Smith's ok to get in!
There is a full court press underway--I'm sure you've noticed--a raging assault . . . upon every mind, heart and soul right now . . . to mold, direct, and completely CONTROL the carnal mind of each . . . to steer it and it's possessor . . . straight into the clutches of Satan and headlong for Hell.
So long as you are operating from the carnal mind, you will be caught in this spiraling (downward) maelstrom . . . for the devil runs the fallen world and the carnal mind is part of the fallen world.
And how serious is it? The scripture says that "to be carnally minded is DEATH."
Submitting to the Lord, however, bestows the spiritual mind--which is "life and peace." Now, your mind--and thus, YOU . . . no longer to be "run" by the devil, by the machinations of the fallen world. Now, you are "run" by God, Who stands sovereign above all--the author and judge of death, life and peace.
Spiritual mind is the ONLY way to go.