For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and [controlled by the desires] of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the (Holy) Spirit.
I see several things in this verse. First, I see that we all fall in one of the two camps – either we set our minds on and seek those things of the flesh or we set our minds on and seek those things of the Spirit. Most of us would likely leap to say we seek the things of the Spirit, but when faced with the Holy Spirit’s unyielding truth I’m not so sure. I know that, as much as I hate to admit it, I find it far too easy to waffle back towards things of the flesh. Spirit may win more often than flesh, but flesh is still in the game (or war, actually).
…set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit.
Set their minds…
This phrasing is very firm, very active. You set a nail in wood – it requires a hammer. You set a table – it requires deliberation. You allow concrete to set – it requires a commitment of time. Whenever the verb “set” is used, there is a commitment of certain resources. Whenever the verb “set” is used, there is the expenditure of effort and the result of that effort is that something remains as it has been set. If I truly set my mind on those things that gratify the Holy Spirit, I am making a conscious effort that does not allow my mind to wander, does not permit foreign thoughts and questions to enter.
Seek those things…
I am also to seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit. Here, too, effort is required! To seek anything requires action, an active outpouring of energies. Because He commands me to do it, I do know that what I’m seeking can be found, praise God! Hm… It also requires a set mind to actively seek something; seeking requires concentration. It requires truly thinking about a thing and where it might be found, and seeking in that location. You don’t seek for a dog in a mouse hole because the dog obviously wouldn’t fit in such a place. Likewise, you don’t seek that which would gratify the Holy Spirit in places that only the flesh would find fitting.
Gratify the Holy Spirit…
Looking at the word gratify in the dictionary is truly eye-opening. “Gratify – v. to afford pleasure to; indulge; humor” I love this! So if I live in accordance with the Spirit… Oh! “in accordance with” means “in agreement with” – so if I live in agreement with the Spirit, then what gratifies the Spirit will gratify me as well!
Okay, so if I live in accordance (in agreement) with the Holy Spirit, then I will set my mind on and seek out those things that will gratify the Holy Spirit, and in gratifying the Holy Spirit I will bring pleasure to, indulge and humor Him. So I am not just seeking out that which the Holy Spirit requires, or even that which the Holy Spirit desires, but I am actively looking for ways in which I can please, indulge, and humor the Holy Spirit.