If the Bible is to be read and understood literally, then there are many places in scripture that just do not make sense. Interpretation is key to understanding scripture and the beauty of God’s Word is how it changes with each reading. It is living, breathing, and inspired by the Creator. In Romans 8, Paul makes a contrast between two ways of living that have two different outcomes. To live according to the flesh will end in death, while living by the power of the Holy Spirit leads to life.
When I consider living according to the flesh, I think about a life filled with pursuing self-interests at the expense of others. While doing this, there is no thought of God. Paul is not referring to the flesh as the flesh on our bodies, he is creating a metaphor that refers to flesh as our human desire to seek and possess those things that bring us pleasure (without regard for the Spirit). This results in death. Not a physical death, but a death of the spirit.
Paul believes that believers can put to death the selfish desires that we possess and choose a life filled with the Spirit. A life that leads to everlasting life. A life lived with the Spirit is a life that overflows with significance.
We all have selfish desires. We are human. But when we let those desires take over our lives, we are as good as dead. May each day bring us a new opportunity to live a life filled with the Holy Spirit.