For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 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, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Good morning friends. In our opening verses Paul explores the contrast between living in the flesh, and living in the spirit in a letter to friends in Rome. He explains the war between the two states, and their motivation; the flesh being selfish, and the spirit, selfless. The flesh can be defined as humankind before regeneration, and the spirit, humankind after the process of regeneration. In a letter to friends in Galatia, he went to list some indicators that can help in determining our spiritual state at any point in time. Let’s have look:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Looking through this exhaustive list, one might be inclined to ask who then can inherit the kingdom of God. Well, we can find consolation in the words of Jesus:
With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible
Sadly, whenever we turn on our TV, pick up a movie, read the papers, or just listen to conversations; we hear these words spiking up at an ever increasing rate. In recent times they have become the norm, so much so that one is perceived as a social misfit whenever they are lacking, even across gender lines.
Then he went on to list character results we should truly desire:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
I can hear “modern man” yelling, “BORING”, “These are softy stuff”; not pub talk, not office or changing room banta, not what real men or sassy women do. “Get with the programme preacher”, “We were born into the 90s”, “This is how we roll in the 21st century”, “It’s only natural”, “Don’t be a kill joy”, “God understands”, “I am a free spirit”, “I can’t help myself”, “It’s the me I need to embrace”, “You are not going to survive in this world”; and on, and on, and on…
Yes, dear friends, He does understands. Remember, we were not created to be slaves to these desires, but rather to have dominion over them. Hence the reason why He sent His only begotten son to die for our sins, and to enable us to live above these things. But ultimately, the choice is ours; we can choose true freedom or “uber cool” slavery. With this in mind I am drawn to these words by Paul as an epilogue for today’s thought:
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Dare I say, walk this way?
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