Romans 8:5 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 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 in you.
Heirs with Christ
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
What, exactly does it mean to let my mind be set on my flesh?
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Walk by the Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
So, those who are living life by the spirit will not find any jealousy, envy, hatred, adultery, fornication (any sexual sin), drunkenness, fighting, murdering or witchcraft or idolatry in their lives but will find an abundance of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.
That really spoke to me this morning. You don't know me. I could be sitting her making all this up; saying some nice words, quoting some Scriptures, acting like God is important to me and that I love Him and follow Him; that I want to know Him more and be more like Him. Why would I do that you ask? Just so you think I'm good, Godly, worthy to be liked, that I know something about God or "religion" as some people put it. "Why," you ask. "Why would you want that?" I guess because I need that kind of acceptance and acclamation from man.
I want you to know my heart, right now. I do have a tendency to want acceptance and to be liked by people, but that is not what this blog is about. It's about me writing down my thoughts and feelings and what I'm learning so I can see if I'm making any headway in this desire I have to be known by and to know God. I'm a driven woman. I think about God all the time. I read His Word, I go to church, I listen to sermons and other Biblical teachings online, I pray without ceasing, I read blogs, I listen to worship music, and He's what I want to talk about with people that I know have a relationship with Him, too. God has chased me up this tree, and I know that it's only when I know Him as He really is without the advice or teaching of someone else that I will be able to get down, sit down and rest again.
So, I'm asking myself after reading these two Scriptures today: Okay, make a list of eight of those listed items which show you are not living "in the Spirit", and I get really happy because thankfully most of them are not things I see myself participating in. But then I hear a quiet little voice saying in my ear. "Well you were upset because the Pastor didn't wish you happy birthday and he did wish it to all your other friends on facebook", and I thought about how the thought had run through my mind that I was in this special "giving" group at church (I guess they're the ones who give the most) and how I always get invited to the special "insider" meetings, but the Pastor didn't think enough of me to wish me happy birthday. Silly, huh? But those are the thoughts you have when you think you are somebody. It's called PRIDE, jealousy and envy. So then, consciously I ask the holy spirit to show me my sin as I began writing down the things I needed to confess and repent of and were somehow hidden in words like fornication, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, strife, rivalries, dissensions, and divisions.
My eyes and ears were opened and I really understood that if we are really, truly being led by the Spirit of God, these things will not be present, and our minds will be set on spiritual things. Of course, it couldn't be just that easy. The next question that popped in my head was exactly what are "spiritual things"?
Philippians 4:8 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Having the holy spirit living within you doesn't necessarily mean that you are filled with the spirit. To be filled with the spirit means that you are controlled and empowered by the Spirit. As Paul said in Ephesians 5, being filled with the Spirit is more than a suggestion, we are commanded to be filled. Filling involves confession of any known sin, repentance and total surrender to God.
Ephesians 5:1-21 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
If the people of God are filled with the holy spirit, then none in the church would be in need, the church would be of one heart and one soul and one mind, and even more importantly, we would speak the gospel with power and effectiveness.
I'll finish up with this prayer today, found in Acts 4:23:
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, "'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'-- 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
May you filled today to overflowing with God's holy spirit.