April 2nd

 

Controlling Nature

5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:5-14 NIV

 

Like Dr. Jekkel and Mr. Hyde, we have two opposite natures in us:  the sinful nature and the Spirit’s nature.  This passage highlights the contrast between the two natures and what happens when each controls our minds. 

 

It is perhaps all too common for people to place faith in Jesus and then return to their former way of living without making changes.  If we return to our old sinful habits instead of changing our ways, we are allowing them to continue to control our minds.  We may subsequently find ourselves feeling “spiritually dry” and wondering why our walk with God seems lifeless.  Paul explained how the sinful nature affects our minds in the above passage.  Specifically, when the sinful nature controls our minds:

 

Clearly, we should not allow the sinful nature to control our minds.  There are some great incentives for us to allow the Holy Spirit to control our minds.  Specifically:

When we start yielding to the Holy Spirit, we can actually put our old sinful habits to death.  Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, he will fill our bodies (previously dead because of sin) with new life.

 

Finally, Paul pointed out that Spirit-controlled living is not optional for Christians.  In fact, we are obligated to allow the Spirit to control our minds.  When you consider the tremendous sacrifice that God made for us (his son dying in agony), is it too much to ask to give him control of your life? 

 

Questions for further thought:

 

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for rescuing me from the death that the sinful nature brings.  Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to live in me and to help me in putting the sinful nature to death.  Please strengthen me to walk obediently to you each day. Please sharpen my recognition of your voice guiding and directing me in the way I should go.  Please reveal the areas of rebellion in my heart that need to be washed clean.  Thank you, Father.  I praise you now and forever, Amen.”