To have the Spirit of Christ is to have new life. How can we continue to live as though we don’t have Him inside us?
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter [in our hearts] till the full light of day [when we stand complete in His presence].
Sometimes, I think we take our relationship with Christ for granted. We tend to forget that the Spirit of the living Christ now lives in us. Doing things our way should be a thing of the past, or at least, as a way of life. Walking with the Spirit means that we rest in Him, listen for His voice, and follow His lead. The First Century Christians had only the spoken words of the apostles and teachers for the most part. They certainly didn’t have the New Testament right away, and then only circulated letters. What good was the Old Testament to them? Much! It told them who God is (Exodus 3:6, Numbers 14:18-19) and His plan for mankind (Ezekiel 36:25-27, Zechariah 3:9). The Psalms and Proverbs give instruction for daily living. There was PLENTY there for the new Christians to learn about serving the Lord.
But, the most important factor was the receiving of the Holy Spirit. With Jesus in them, they were taught first-hand about God and His plan for them. Add to that His continuous presence: the love, joy and peace that flow from Him to us, the hope that comes through His mercy and grace that are available to us at His throne anytime we need them (Hebrews 4:16), and the security of His Plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11) and the whole world (2 Peter 3:9, John 1:16).
Why is it such a big deal to walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh? Let’s look at the flesh first. When Paul uses the term, “the flesh,” he is referring to our physical bodies, our natural person, the part of us that is not transformed by God, but is part of the original covenant and has been infected by sin. It represents us before we came to know Christ; we lived for ourselves and were slaves to sin and the one who deceived us into rebelling (Ephesians 2:1-3). To depend on our flesh, our own intellect and desires, is to deny the Spirit within us. Doing so leads to consequences, both natural and spiritual; let’s be wise and listen to the Spirit.
Speaking of which, let’s read what Paul says we should focus on:
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:4-5
More on this tomorrow. For today, let’s focus on what the Spirit desires. Let’s turn to Him in our minds and ask Him to lead us–we will have to set aside our own plans and allow Him to reshape them; are we willing to do that? If we are not, then we are living according to “sarka,” which means “the flesh: apart from the Spirit.” To do so leads to destruction. Let’s not go there!
Abba, speak to us; convict our hearts. Let us feel Your presence in our lives and know Your love, joy and peace as we commit our way to You. Lead us and we will follow; direct us and we will obey. “Where else would we go? You have the words of life (John 6:68).” You are our Lord; be Lord of our lives. Amen.