The mind in Romans 7 is an independent mind, trying to do good by itself, so the apostle brings us into chapter 8 and tells us how the mind must be dependent. The independent mind, trying to do things under its own power, will be defeated. On what then must the mind be dependent? Romans 8:6 says, “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” There are two possibilities for the mind: it may depend either on the flesh or on the spirit. If it depends on the flesh, the result will be death, but if it depends on the spirit, there will be life and peace…The key to victory is to always set our mind on the spirit.
The enemy tempts us to do good by our own efforts, and the usual response is, “I love the Lord and belong to the Lord, so I want to do good to please Him.” This is the temptation. When we are independent and making up our minds to do good by our own strength, we are being tempted, and we will surely be defeated. We may be able to do good today, tomorrow, and possibly even for three days, but we certainly cannot keep it up for three and a half days. The lesson we need to learn is never to be independent and try to do things in our strength, but always to depend upon the Lord. Whenever we are tempted to do good by our own effort, we had better tell the enemy, “No, Satan. No, I cannot and will not go that way. I do not know anything about doing good; I only know one thing—to depend upon my Lord. I will not be drawn away from leaning upon Him.” Then we will have the victory and have life and peace. It is really simple. The Triune God has dispensed Himself into our spirit as our life and as everything to us; therefore, we must learn never to do anything independently or anything in our own strength. (The Economy of God, pp. 174-175)