Text: Romans 8:5-12
Theme: Flesh vs. Spirit: Only one can control at a time–one leads to death and the other to life.
Key verses: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (v. 5-6). “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you” (v. 9a). “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to our mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do” (v. 11-12).
What God said to me: Good morning, my servant. Glad you could join me today. My Word has been right here waiting for you to delve into. My Spirit has never left you, never stopped loving and gently drawing you back to my side and my presence here in this moment. The most outstanding and shocking statement Paul makes is that my Spirit lives in you. Think about it: The same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus my Son from the dead is alive and at work inside of you. At the same time, perhaps the greatest understatement Paul makes is that you “have no obligation” to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. Well, that is certainly a true statement; nothing truer could be said. Dwayne, every time you sin it is only because you choose to sin. Let’s analyze that moment step by step. First, to sin you must take your eyes off of my beauty and glory, for only then can you even see and notice the temptation. My glory will glaringly outshine allurings of this world every single time. Next, you must deny all those emotional and singable moments of you deciding to follow me over the years. You must literally turn your back on each and every tearful promise you’ve ever made to surrender all to me. Third, you must ignore my Spirit who lives in you. It’s like you walk right past my looming presence in the room and open the door to temptation. Imagine how I must feel. How would you feel, sitting in your living room, just a few feet away, and hearing a provocative conversation at the front door–all the while being ignored and feeling unwanted because of this new and “exciting” house guest you’ve let in? And finally, every time you sin, Dwayne, you replace me on the throne of your heart and embrace some fleeting, sleazy, fly-by-night, salesman selling his cheesy wares. In your heart of hearts you know his goods offer only temporary pleasure and power. You know deep inside that my way is still the best way. You know that my company is Who you want with you on those long, dark nights of winter and during the scary, unknown paths of life. And yet, you open the door and invite in the sleaze-bag anyway. You entertain his ways and bow to his wishes. Temptations win; you lose, and I am hurt all over again. Let my words to you today sink in deeply. Keep your eyes fixed on me, and gaze directly ahead to your mission. Don’t yield to temptation, and above all, guard your heart.
What I said to God: Nothing much. I am pretty-much speechless right now. What can I say? You have busted my chops and exposed my sinful leanings and ways. Thank You, most gracious One, for loving me and staying with me despite my inexcusable wanderings at times.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel itRobert Robinson
Prone to leave the God I love
Heres my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above