The human mind is an incredible thing. We were created in God's image and we were given the ability to reason, and imagine. The ability to reason and imagine has resulted in some incredible forward progress for the betterment of mankind. This ability of the mind to imagine and reason also allows man to be capable of visualizing and committing atrocious evils. This natural mind, if we aren't savvy to how it works, can oppose and fight against God.
“For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mindset of the flesh is enmity toward God, for it is not subjected to the law of God, for it is not able to do so,”
“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.”
Eastons bible dictionary refers to carnal as the "animal nature". The carnal mind is the natural mind we as human beings were given before receiving regeneration through Christ.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Previously the carnal mind pursued our own desires, had logic and reasoning, and survival instincts built into it. Our survival instincts and ability to deduce logical conclusions still remains and can be good (in the arena of positive reinforcement and building confidence) and bad (in the arena of negative reinforcement, and instilling fear.)
“But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.”
An example of how our mind naturally works. We see an alligator, it looks cool, we want to pet it, we reach our hand out, alligator snaps to bite our arm off. Few days later we see another alligator, we want to touch it, we reach our hand out to pet it and it snaps to eat us. 3rd time comes around we see another alligator, we again reach out to touch it, again it snaps to try and eat us. By this point our natural mind, on autopilot, begins to process these experiences and through deductive reasoning begins to predict the future. It now assumes that when we reach out to pet alligators they will bite at us. This conclusion and mind generated information links to our survival instincts and notes to ourselves to avoid that risk in the future. This isn't a bad thing. This is what helps keeps us alive, and allows us to learn. It also allows us to develop expectations or potential outcomes both negative and positive, and predicts similar looking (based on sensory input) future experiences.
Another example of how our mind naturally works with positive reinforcement. A Young boy swings at baseball on a tee. He connects with the ball, and his coach, friends and family (his support system) praise and encourage his behavior instilling a positive exciting experience in his mind. Ever time he hits the ball he is meet with optimism and encouragement. If he misses the ball he is not meet with overly critical harsh or negative repercussions but rather meet with "shake it off, don't be afraid to fail, you can do this, we've seen you do it before, you can do it again." His mind begins to process this information and he, through deductive reasoning, begins to learn that it's okay to make mistakes, that he can indeed do it, and when he does do it he is rewarded with the a positive experience. This begins to instill confidence into the boy. As he grows he begins to have greater confidence and expects that when he steps into the batter's box he will crush it, not strike out. That's the beauty of the way our minds were created. We can have incredible confidence and expectations built into us with positive experiences, likewise we can have insecurities and fears reinforced into it with negative experiences.
How this applies to our spiritual walk. We see someone in need of healing, we pray for them, we see no immediate change, we deduce they weren't healed. We see another person who needs help, we pray for tell them about Jesus, they reject it and we deduce we were no help. We see yet another person who needs a touch from heaven, we pray for them and nothing appears to happen. What is going to happen next time we are in a similar looking situation and pray for someone? Our natural mind, in all it's beautiful intelligence and through deductive reasoning, begins to jump to conclusions and predict the future. This is the moment when the natural mind begins to oppose and fight against God. The mind, based on the previous seeing of our eyes and the hearing of our ears, begins to assume future results and outcomes. These foresights, impose limitations on what we think God can do, and what God can do through us. We put God into a box.
“Trust Yahweh with all your heart; do not lean toward your own understanding....
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear Yahweh and retreat from evil.”
How our new mind is called to work with positive reinforcement. The same deductive reasoning can be applied to build confidence via positive experiences in spiritual growth as well. We lead one soul to Jesus, and see the fruit of their changed life. That inspires us to tell others. We pray for more people, they have an encounter with God. the more people that can encounter God through our submission and yielding to him, and his Holy Spirit the greater our confidence becomes. The greater our faith becomes. Unmovable, unwavering, 100% expectation that God will continue to do what he did before, and even greater.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
“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.”
God is constantly trying to put us in remembrance to trust in him, and not in our own strength and ability.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
In an effort to keep that natural mind which fights faith at bay, God may ask us to do things that seem bizarre or illogical to a natural mind. This can change our focus and cause us to remember who our hope is in and who fights our battles for us. It can put our faith back in the proper place. He may have an army march around the walls of a city, blow some trumpets on the 7th day to win a battle. He may have someone dip 7 times into a river to be healed of incurable disease. He may have a boy slay a mighty warrior giant with a sling shot to deliver a nation from oppression. He may make mud with his own spit and rub it on a mans eyes and tell him to go wash it out to heal him of their blindness. The bottomline is we should expect God to do the unexpected.