Reading this section reminds me how important it is for us christians to, 'put off your old self'. What does that mean?
Paul makes a distinction between the 'gentiles' or unbelievers, and those who believe in Jesus Christ. He seems to identify that unbelievers have, 'hardness of heart', as we all once did, and it seems that they do what they feel like. As Christians we can also get swept away by what we feel like doing (or not doing) too.
There are occasions when our feelings do need to be considered. Health and being overburdened or stressed and sick should be taken into account. But what I am challenging here is - do we make excuses rather than listen to God's truth? Do we consider ourselves more than we should? and should we listen to our minds more than our hearts?
From reading God's word, I have learnt that my feelings cannot be trusted.
My feelings are somewhat governed by my flesh, and the flesh is yet to be renewed.
We have been, 'renewed in the spirit of your mind' (v23). God also reminds us of this in Romans where it tells us we are, 'transformed by the renewal of your mind', and 1 Corinthians states, 'we have the mind of Christ'.
So, perhaps we can and should trust our minds. Our minds are transformed and renewed, so we can trust them to make better decisions than our feelings.
If you're unsure about that, you're not sure about your own judgement, then the sure fire way to figure out if you're doing it right is to pick up the Bible, read it and pray.
Look at the life of Jesus, he had feelings, he got angry, he was sorrowful, he felt lonely, hungry, and suffered excruciating pain, but he NEVER acted out of that. He never got carried away by how he felt, he chose not to react in relation to how he felt. He acted out of what he knew to be true.
Jesus did not give in to the flesh by obeying these sensations, he was able to overcome them by knowing what God says, knowing and trusting the mind he had. It does not mean that he ceased to feel, but that he was not controlled by that.
We can decide to do the same.
In sports, athletes learn not to listen to how their body - their legs or arms, feel as they would not be pushing themselves to achieve their best if they did. Instead, they push on, test the limits, and in time their endurance and ability increases. If we want to be spiritually fit then we should exercise the same discipline. After all, we are told that this journey of faith is a race. So, we need to learn not give in to our feelings, cravings or desires, but test ourselves to overcome them, not to be burdened by them. The athlete can recognise the discomfort but not be led by it.
If we are to run this race so as to win it, we have to keep going as Jesus did. He endured so much especially on the last journey he had to take. The emotional and physical abandonmet, pain and sorrow would be unbearable for you and I, but he endured it for us.
If Jesus can do this for us, can we as his followers learn to follow him in trusting the, 'mind of Christ' that we have been given?