Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. Oh, by the way, God isn’t pleased at being ignored. (Romans 8:5-8)
Here’s another look at the same verses from the Amplified Bible:
For those who are according to the flesh and ‘are controlled’ by its unholy desires ‘set their minds on’ . . .
Didn’t I tell you before that the only weapon Satan has against us is what? T.I.S.—Thoughts, Ideas, and Suggestions—that is all he can use against you
they set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh,
Okay . . . so how do I overcome those things? Well, Paul is just about to tell you . . .
but those who walk according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit ‘set their minds on’ and they seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit.
Now the mind of the flesh—[which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit}—is death
Death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter—think about it, if you are involved in an adulterous affair, do you really think you are going to have a peaceful mind? Of course not. You will be frustrated at every turn.
But the mind of the Holy Spirit is life and peace both now and forever.
Why? Because the mind of the flesh—with its carnal thoughts and purposes—is hostile to God—it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.
So then those who are living the life of the flesh. Catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature cannot please God, or be acceptable to Him. (8:5-8).
You have to get your head “screwed on right!” You need to quit playing games with this “religious” stuff and start acting as if you believe. You have been telling people you are a “Christian,” well, when are you going to begin acting as if you are. Oh, I am not saying that your behavior is what saves you, but when the Spirit of God resides in your heart, there is a change of your heart. You act differently; you talk differently; your values and priorities are different. The things you once viewed as being “okay,” suddenly are not “okay.”
But, [Oh, there’s my favorite word again . . .it indicates that I stated something that was true, however, there is another side to it] but if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about.
If you do not have Jesus, this stuff is foolishness to you . . .
However, for you who welcomes him in—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself can experience life on God’s terms. (Romans 8:9)
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he will do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s body is alive! (Romans 8:10-11)
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome