Spirit vs. Flesh: Which Is Better?

20. October 2011 Romans 0

Text: Romans 8:5-8
Theme: Paul makes a strong case for the Spirit over the flesh to rule us.
Key verses: “If you live your life animated by the flesh…then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh. But if you live your life animated by the Spirit…then your focus is on the work of the Spirit. A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit on the Spirit will find full life and peace. You see, a mind focused on the flesh is declaring war against God…God takes no pleasure in those who live oriented to the flesh” (v. 5-8).
What God said to me: Dwayne, Paul is appealing to your sense of logic and reason in this passage. He doesn’t hammer you over the head and demand you follow and obey my Spirit. Anyone who has read the first seven chapters of Romans will know what Paul (and I) expect the reader to choose: Obey the Spirit, rather than the flesh. But Paul does more than just tell you what you should do. Notice how he lays it out. First, he gives describes the main difference in your choices: Let your flesh “animate” you and you will focus on the flesh. Let the Spirit rule you and you will focus on the Spirit. Thus far, that might not be very compelling either way. One might be tempted to say, “So? One choice sounds just as appealing to me as the other.” So Paul then gives the consequences of your choices. He says the flesh is doomed to death and the Spirit brings life and peace. Now, for many that will enough to convince them to choose the Spirit. However, for those who want to know to why, Paul goes even further. Third, he gives the reason for those consequences: Following the flesh declares war on me. I take no pleasure (ie, I despise) those whose lives are patterned by their carnal rebellious nature. Thus, the ball’s in your court today, Dwayne. Which will you obey? Choose life and peace.
What I said to God: Holy Father, I choose You and You alone today. I reckon myself to be dead to my flesh and alive only to You. Praise for Your mercy and Your patience with me, day in and day out. I will sing of Your love forever!