Read the word.
Teach the word.
Preach the word.
- 1 Timothy 4:13
What’s going on in your mind is important. It’s a constant conflict between the flesh and the Spirit for control of your mind. So what you allow to enter our minds is of the utmost importance in determining whether the flesh or the Spirit wins control. You have influence in this battle for our mind!
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way: “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny.”
The Apostle Paul understood the struggle that occurs in our minds and the strategy for victory. He also used the metaphor of sowing and reaping to help us pay attention to what we let sink into our minds: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:7-10)
That last line is so important in light of the small battles and the long war that continues for our mind: And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
We mistakenly think that five minutes of Bible reading is an adequate amount of spiritual content for an instant transformation of our character. But that’s not how sowing and reaping works. There is a delay between sowing and reaping. It takes time for what we sow to take root and grow before it can be enjoyed. And that’s why we shouldn’t grow weary while doing good. In due season we will reap what we sow—either the works of the flesh as a result of feeing the flesh, or the fruit of the Spirit as a result of feeding our spirit.
Pause and consider…what are you sowing right now? What content are you consuming in your mind? What will you be reaping in due season? Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, that he will also reap.
Even after Christ sets us free, we have a choice of what to set our minds on—the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit. In our previous studies in Romans, we’ve considered the constant conflict between the flesh (our old sinful nature) and the Spirit (our new nature in Christ) for mind—the place where we make decisions and take action.
We have influence over this conflict by choosing which side to feed. This choice is as simple being careful of the content we consume in our mind. Just like planing a seed, our thoughts will yield a harvest. God’s word makes it clear—if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. But if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.
Watch our study of Romans 8:5-6 as we considered the eternal importance of sowing and reaping.
If anyone has the authority to give us an honest assessment that we can believe, receive, and enjoy, it is God. He is the only ultimate authority that can accurately appraise our value and worth.
And yet when we hear His honest assessment of us, we too often disbelieve its accuracy, reject its honesty, or redirect its sincerity—and intentionally or not, we question His authority in our lives.
Instead, we must repent, believe, receive, and enjoy His true and accurate view of us. God has so many more wonderful and honest assessments of our current condition in Christ that have to do with His character and His grace. As a loving, life-giving authority in our lives, He really wants us to believe Him and receive what He says is true—without disbelieve, false humility, or rejection.
Because we struggle with this, we need a helper—someone who could not only bring back to remembrance of all that God has said to us, but also someone would could help us to actually believe, receive, and enjoy all that He has said to us.
We have such a helper—the Holy Spirit! He is our teacher and guide through the scriptures. The Holy Spirit helps us understand God’s honest assessment of our current condition in Christ and helps us to act as more than a conquerer through Him who loves us. We simply need to co-operate and give Him the opportunity to do so. That is walking and serving in the newness of the Spirit.
Romans 8 begins with no condemnation (see Romans 8:1) and ends with no separation (see Romans 8:38-39). In between these two magnificent truths is a description of our victory through life in the Holy Spirit.
In fact, Romans 8:37 says life can be even more than a victory for you through Him who loves you. But why is it that we sometimes struggle with receiving and implementing this reality in our lives? What keeps us from believing, receiving, and enjoying this truth?
It’s something we considered as we looked at Romans 8:1-4 again this past Sunday. Though we studied the same scripture last week, there is so much depth to these verses that we needed to plunge its depths again! Watch our 2nd study from Romans 8:1-4 and join us this Sunday as we worship the Lord and continue our study in Romans.
In Romans 7, we read about the ongoing war for control of your mind. It’s the war between the flesh and the spirit battling for that part of you that makes decisions.
If it seems like the war has intensified since you surrendered to Jesus, it has. Your flesh has been continually corrupted by its deceitful desires since your were saved and set free to follow your flesh or the Spirit.
It’s so important the know that this war for control of your mind will persist until you arrive in Heaven. Which is why it is so important to starve what feeds the flesh and reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, and consume what feeds the spirit to be alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Romans 8, we discover where victory in this war is found—walking according to the Spirit. In the Spirit is freedom from the flesh—freedom they tyranny of thinking that God’s favor must be earned through legalism.
We don’t have to earn His favor—Jesus did this for us! We’re no longer under the law of God—we are free to simply fellowship with Him. That is what He has saved us for—fellowship with Him. So enjoy the freedom you have in Christ to live in free fellowship with Him today!
Romans 8:1 is one of the most magnificent statements and important truths in all of the Bible: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…”
In order to appreciate this truth to the fullest, we need to consider it in its context—which includes an odd verse before it, and the verse following it.
At first read, it seems as though these two verses go together. However, there is something in these three verses together that will not only help us appreciate Romans 8:1, but will also help us properly appropriate the truth we find in Romans 8:1.
Watch our study from Sunday as we dive deep into the first four verses of Romans 8.
With our minds, we are limited to just wanting to serve the law of God. But our flesh (our body) wants to serve another law—the law of sin. So we struggle as we look for a solution, which is only found in Christ. Through Him we are able to live in the newness of the Spirit because we have been made alive spiritually.
Think this through—we are made up of an inferior trinity: body, mind, and spirit. Before Christ, we are spiritually dead in our sins and transgressions. So without Christ, the order is upside down:
Our flesh, our bodily appetites, rules over us—telling our mind what to do. That’s the struggle we read about in Romans 7 as Paul describes the tension between knowing what’s wrong, but doing it anyway.
But when we are born again of the Spirit, we’re made alive spiritually and the right order is restored:
Now, our spirit communes with the Holy Spirit and renews our mind so our mind communicates to our body what to do!
The problem is that even when we are born again, we can neglect the fact that we have been made alive spiritually—that we have been called to serve in the newness of the Spirit. If we neglect this life in the Spirit, we’ll be stuck in Romans 7. But if we walk according to the Spirit, there is no condemnation and we joyfully live in the promises found in Romans 8.
Have you neglected this reality or have yet to be born again in the Spirit? Jesus Christ wants to deliver you from a body of death! Call out to Him and ask Him to revive or resurrect you spiritually so that you can walk with no condemnation, no separation from Him, and in the newness of the Spirit.
At the end Romans 7, the Apostle Paul expresses what we all feel—the push and pull between mind and flesh. He knows the right thing to do, but he does what is wrong anyway. In desperation, he asks, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
It’s not the law. While the law is good, it cannot give life or save and sanctify us. The only thing that the law can do is show us that we have fallen short of God’s ideal.
Thankfully, Paul provides the answer in the very next verse: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” And throughout the next chapter, we read of the newness of the Spirit available in Christ: no condemnation, no separation, more than conquerers.
This Sunday, we considered the newness of the Spirit made possible to us through Christ as an introduction to one of the greatest chapters in all of scripture. Read ahead as we dive into this amazing chapter this coming Sunday!
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
There’s a mistake in seeking the gift rather than the Gift Giver. When we become focused on the thing we think we want rather than the One that’s wanting us, we lose out on a deeper relationship with Him.
Author Oswald Chambers understood this. For four long years, he was constantly seeking the gift of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. But he became increasingly frustrated because he didn’t receive the kind of confirmation he thought he should receive. It was only after he read Luke 11:13 that he understood that he was looking for the gift rather than the Gift Giver.
So he simply said, “God, please baptize me with your Holy Spirit. God, thank you for baptizing me with your Holy Spirit.”
He believed. He received. It’s as simple as that.
So how should we respond to all that we’ve learned about the person and the help and the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Just believe and receive. If you are looking for a more complicated answer, there isn’t one. Believe God when He says that He wants to give you a gift. And then thank Him for the gift He has given you.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends