Living In and According to the Spirit Romans 8 1 2001
In a PEANUTS cartoon strip Lucy is livid at her mother. "You promised me a birthday party," she wails, "and now you say I can't have one. It's not fair!" Linus tries to intervene. "You're not using the right strategy," he counsels. "Why not go up to Mom and say to her, `I'm sorry, Dear Mother...I admit I've been bad, and you were right to cancel my party, but from now on I shall try to be good!'" Lucy has a grimace on her face as she thinks this through. Finally, in the last panel, she cries out, "I'd rather die!"
That's the way the old nature feels about living godly. We must accept the fact that, left to ourselves, we cannot live godly. We must have the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
A Power Transfer
You have probably had the experience of using jumper cables to jump-start a car with a dead battery. It’s a pretty simple procedure. You just connect one battery’s positive and negative poles to their counterparts on the other battery and rev the good battery’s engine.
At that moment there is a power transfer. The power of the living battery is transferred to the dead battery, so that the dead battery becomes as alive as the living battery. Now this did not happen because that dead battery had any life in it. It got connected to another battery that had life.
I think you get the picture. Jesus died and rose from the dead, so He has all the power we will ever need. When we are connected to Him by the “jumper cables” of the Holy Spirit, we receive Christ’s life as our dead spirits come alive.
· The Spirit hooks you up to the living battery called Christ.
Þ You say, “Wait a minute. If I am connected to the living and powerful Christ by the living and powerful Holy Spirit, how come I still seem so dead?
Þ Why am I so weak?
Þ How come I am losing, not winning, the battle?”
Well, even with a living battery working for you, even when life is flowing from the living to the dead battery, a jump start doesn’t do any good until you turn on the ignition.
Þ In other words, there is something you must do in order to authorize the benefits of the power and the authority that are being transferred to you by the Holy Spirit.
Walk by the Spirit
You’ll find your responsibility in the latter half of Romans 8:4, where Paul says the Spirit’s authority is made available to those “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
There’s that familiar word walk, a favorite euphemism of Paul’s for our daily conduct, the way we live our lives.
The imagery of walking has at least three concepts embedded in it.
¨ First of all, walking assumes you are going somewhere.
It means there is a destination.
Þ There’s only one destination to pursue if you want to experience the Holy Spirit’s power and authority, and that is the will and glory of God
Þ If you are not committed to living for God’s glory and doing His will, there will be no transfer of power.
Þ This is turning on the ignition.
That’s why the Bible tells us not to pray with a double mind (James 1:6-8)
6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
Þ a mind that can’t decide whether or not it really wants to do God’s will.
So walking “according to” or by the Spirit means pointing toward the destination of God’s will.
¨ Second, walking implies dependence.
When you walk, you place one foot in front of the other, putting all your weight on each foot for each step.
>>walking is just a series of controlled falls!
>>must be committed that my foot is going to be there to hold
To walk by the Spirit, you must rest your weight on Him, depending on His power and not your own.
In Run with the Horses, Eugene Peterson tells how he saw a family of birds teaching their young to fly. Three young swallows were perched on a dead branch that stretched out over a lake.
"One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch---pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water four feet below, the wings started working, and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one."
"The third was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent was without sentiment. He pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the poor chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released, and the inexperienced wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not---that it would fly---that there was no danger in making it do what it was perfectly designed to do."
"Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action, and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully."
"Living by the Spirit is what we do best.
It is the air into which we were born.
It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. .
….Some of us try desperately to hold on to ourselves, to live for ourselves.
|-- Oswald Chambers in The Moral Foundations of Life. The Spirit of God is always the spirit of liberty; the spirit that is not of God is the spirit of bondage, the spirit of oppression and depression. The Spirit of God convicts vividly and tensely, but He is always the Spirit of liberty. God who made the birds never made birdcages; it is men who make birdcages, and after a while we become cramped and can do nothing but chirp and stand on one leg. When we get out into God's great free life, we discover that that is the way God meant us to live "the glorious liberty of the children of God."|
The results of this are very interesting: The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace"
(Romans 8:6). “For the carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
In this condition you may be alive and well physically, but spiritually emaciated.---------- Your spiritual life is ebbing away, and that leads to all sorts of emotional anxiety and depression, because your mind has been taught to focus on the flesh, and there is no peace, no joy, and no purpose in the flesh.
***This is when Christians start doing the same things non-Christians do to find peace because they are not getting it from the Spirit.
***There's emptiness, lack of peace, and anxiety because they are cut off from the Spirit's life.
|Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against |
the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the
obedience of Christ.
--2 Corinthians 10:5
|What we think about when we are free to think about what we will--|
that is what we are or will soon become....
Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so
by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours
or days. What has he thought about when free to think of what he
pleased? Toward what has his inner heart turned when it was free to
turn where it would? When the bird of thought was let go did it fly
out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses or did it like
the dove circle and return again to the ark of God?
The best way to control our thoughts is to offer the mind to God in
- I have been thinking recently about how important my thoughts are.
- I don't have to do wrong to get under blistering conviction and repent.
I can lose the fellowship of God and sense of His presence and a
sense of spirituality by just thinking wrong.
God has been saying to
me, "I dwell in your thoughts. Make your thoughts a sanctuary in
which I can dwell. See to it."
**Make your thoughts a sanctuary God can inhabit, and don't let any of
the rest of your life dishonor God.
|*** See to it that not a foot of |
ground is unholy. See to it that every hour and every place is given
over to God, and you will worship Him and He will accept it. Tozer
"May my thoughts be a sanctuary this morning, Father, where You can
dwell comfortably. Amen."
|Ø The mind is a garden that could be cultivated to produce the harvest that we desire. Ø The mind is a workshop where the important decisions of life and eternity are made. Ø The mind is an armory where we forge the weapons for our victory or our destruction. Ø The mind is a battlefield where all the decisive battles of life are won or lost.|
** if you set your mind on the things of the Spirit, you have life and peace. You have purpose and meaning and joy, and you are content.
When the Holy Spirit is in control, you say, "Lord, it's in Your hands. Things may not be where I want them to be, but it's where You have them so I'm going to be content with it."
**External circumstances do not govern your life. None of that really matters because you are at peace.
TWO CONTRASTING IDENTITIES
Where do you draw your identity from?
Paul suggests two possible identities in Romans 8:8-9:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Notice how Paul changes prepositions………… ……….Prior to this he has been talking about living according to the flesh. V.5
Now he talks about being in the flesh. Why? Because now he's not talking about how you are living. He's talking about who you are.
**Every person on earth is either in the sphere of the flesh-that is, unsaved;
or in the sphere of the Spirit-that is, saved. Remember, Paul's concern is Christians who are in the Spirit but who are living according to the flesh.
"First of all," he says, "let's get straight who you are." A lot of us are not acting like we should act because we don't remember who we are
If you forget who you are, you are going to forget how you are supposed to act.
Christian, do you know who you are?
Þ You are a child of God. You are a saint. You are sanctified.
Þ You are secure. You have royal blood flowing through your veins. That's who you are!
Christian brother or sister, when Jesus died, you died. When Jesus arose, you arose. When Jesus comes back, you will rise to go with Him because that's who you are.
We have a new identity now.
So Paul says in verse 11: " But If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells you.
The same power that got Jesus up out of the grave is the power that will get you up out of that sin:; out of that unholy language you are using; out of that temper you can't control;
out of that jealousy that's overcoming you; out of that contradiction you are living.
*****With that kind of power at work in you, you don't have to live a dead life.
*****The Holy Spirit can turn the resurrection power of Christ loose in you.
|Every time we say, "I believe in the Holy Spirit," we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it. -- J. B. Phillips|
It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia who never lost his way. He carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs. When in doubt as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air. The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to his goal. Because of this unique practice he was known as "the dove man." So, too, the Holy Spirit, the heavenly Dove, is willing and able to direct us in the narrow way that leads to the more abundant life if in humble self-denial we submit to His unerring supervision.