Carnal Mind, Spirit Mind
I saw a program on TV once about a real-life horse whisperer. What fascinated me most was the description of how horses control unruly colts. If a colt is misbehaving, the adults will drive the colt away from the group. Although a group of adult horses could easily fend off a single predator, the colt on its own is at risk. By isolating the colt, the animal is put into a precarious position inducing a state of fear. The colt will eventually become aware of the risk and agree to submit to the adults. Then the colt is allowed back into the herd. The horse whisperer used this instinct to get a horse to regard the man as the horse's only hope to remove the trauma and fear. The end result is that the animal comes under the man's control.
Man, when separated from his Creator, falls to the level of an animal. He becomes controlled and controllable through that most basic instinct of all animals: survive, seek pleasure and procreate. This is the life of the flesh. When the flesh dominates in this way, the mind comes under control of the flesh and all thoughts turn to satisfaction of those instincts. The man of flesh develops the carnal mind - a mind that only seeks self preservation at the highest level of pleasure available.
The family - tribe - gang - nation state - it's all the same. Conform to the rules and you get the support of the group. Fail to conform and YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, DUDE!
Look how easy it becomes to control such a person. All you need to do is threaten his survival by removing him from the group. Banishment, shunning, solitary confinement, or just "go sit in the corner Johnny" is the way it is. Fear of being deprived of group support drives the mind into the fear induced trauma that desperately seeks a solution. Conform, you get back in the group, and the fear is taken away.
But first you have to be trained. You train an animal by repetition and reward. If the animal responds correctly, it gets the treat. Otherwise - NO TREAT! Try again FIDO! The learned behavior becomes habit even when the treat is not there. Sound familiar?
The schoolchildren are told: REPEAT AFTER ME. The teacher spits it out, the children regurgitate it back. Good boys and girls get a gold star on the board and praise from the teacher. Repetition and reward. And so they become "educated" - brainwashed really - and what follows for the rest of their lives is the same ol' same ol' - do what the authority figure tells you and you get to be in the group, get your reward, and go on down the road. Get an education so you can get a good job, see? Get a good job so you can have lots of stuff, see? Have lots of stuff and you have THE GOOD LIFE! (Well, as long as it lasts anyway.)
So the desires of the flesh control the mind.
And they are territorial. Oh yes, indeed they are. Each herd keeps others out so as to insure adequate food and space. Same thing with the human animal. Select your friends carefully, cause you need to get in with the right people. Knowing the right people means: a better job - more money - more stuff - longer life. But if you want to be part of OUR GANG you better look like us, talk like us, dress like us, BE like us.
It's all so predictable then. What can be predicted can be controlled (or at least used effectively). Just tell them the NEW and IMPROVED detergent will get their clothes whiter that white (whatever that means) and people with WHITE clothes are obviously superior, and they run right down to the store to get some. Get the right car and you get the nice looking guy/gal to ride with you. Don't you? Ever notice how TV advertisements run again and again and again? Repetition and reward, just like training animals.
Makes a good slave to produce toys for master. Makes a good vessel for a demon, too.
But some don't like it. They rebel. Really? Ever notice how so-called rebellious teenagers all rebel in EXACTLY the same way? Sure, it's not what their parents-teachers want, but it's still just conformity to the group. But not to worry. As soon as Jack and Jill get married they find out how the world works anyway. Cut the hair, put on the suit, go to work, or else - no house, no food, no GIANT TV.
So it gets pretty depressing and ends in death anyway. But not to worry, because you can still live forever if you just get in with the right group. You know - RELIGION! The ultimate pension plan. Pay your dues and do what you are told to do and you get a ticket to heaven. HALLELUJA! Just worship the way we do, act the way we do, and repeat your doctrines just like we tell you, is all you need to do.
No different than the world. Still the carnal mind at work seeking it's own survival through conformity to the group.
There is only one way out -
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Now, some translators will say that "again" is maybe "from above." No matter, because either way it comes down to this: we are dead in the flesh and need regeneration. As long as the flesh is in control of the mind we are dead men walking. And that's all there is to it. You need a new mind. That's what BORN AGAIN is all about.
John 3:6-8 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The commentators don't really seem to have much to say about the "wind" part here. I think the main idea is that the wind is unseen, yet we see it's effects. Thus, it is a good metaphor for spirit. But also think of it this way - the wind is unpredictable. The mind controlled by the flesh is predictable. It will always respond to threats against the survival of the flesh. But, the spirit mind is totally different. It is eternal, cannot die, cannot be threatened and is not predictable. It is truly free.
John 8:32-36 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Nothing can conform the spirit mind to the world because it just doesn't care! IT DOESN'T SERVE THE FLESH. Much of the teaching of Jesus centers on this point. He tells people not to worry about what food they have to eat, what clothes they have to wear, where they live, etc. You see, that's all the desires of the flesh and as long as those are what motivate you, you can only have a carnal mind. And that is death.
Romans 8:5-8 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
What an irony! The flesh, which only seeks its own survival is DEAD. It wants survival and freedom through accumulation of material things and group support. But it's TRAPPED and ENSLAVED by it's own desires. You are corrupt according to deceiving desires; desires that lead only to sin.
The spirit mind, which is a servant of God's will, not self, is ALIVE eternally and FREE! No matter how hard the flesh tries it can NEVER keep the law of God. It is enmity against God - it only seeks it's own survival. All the legalists in all the history of the world are doing is trying to conform themselves to some fleshy appearance, because that's all their mind can conceive of. It's the same old desire to survive though conformity played out as religion. (That's what Paul means when he says that no man is justified by works of the law.)
Romans 12:2 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.
This is key and has been one of the foundation stones in my life for years. Either you have a carnal mind that is conformed by the flesh to the world, or you have a mind that has been transformed into a spirit mind which is in service to God. It is the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.