Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5 Those 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. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”
Did you notice that in verse 4 Paul wrote “… in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” What does it mean to live according to the Spirit? We began to touch on it yesterday, but today we’ll look a bit more into it.
Basically, Paul was saying that the reason believers fulfilled the law was because they had the Spirit. As they turned over control in their lives to the Holy Spirit, He empowered them to love God and to love their neighbor. That, after all, was what the law required. This is essentially what Paul said from Romans 5:12-7:25.
Here in verses 5-8 he made several comparisons. He did this to clarify what it looked like to please God. He started by describing two types of people: those who live according to the flesh (sinful nature) and those who live according to the Spirit. The former are unbelievers. They are only concerned with the flesh with its impulses and self-centeredness. They simply live to gratify their corrupt nature. The latter are true believers; they can now rise above the flesh and live for those things that are eternal.
Paul wanted his readers to know that the mind controlled or governed by the flesh was death—death to their present enjoyment and in their ultimate destiny, but the mind governed by the Spirit is peace and life. For them, the flesh is hostile to God; there is no hope in pleasing God.
So what does it mean to live according to Spirit? It means that we embrace the reality of our new nature and in doing so, we now live in a way that our very conduct is directed by the Spirit. It means that our life is now being shaped and determined by God through God’s Spirit. How? The Spirit works to produce the qualities of character in our lives, which are attributes of God—attributes that should appear in the believer’s life in an ever-increasing way as they grow in the likeness of Christ. What the Spirit produces in the believer is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22).
I think Paul would want us to know that the whole of our life—the life of the believer—is a life directed, inspired, and empowered by the Spirit.
Think about the last statement. Think about what it means for you personally to be united with Christ—to have the Spirit of God active in your life. To know that His power is present—it’s not something future, but it is something you have access to right here and now.
Whatever you are currently facing, will you let the Spirit of God direct, inspire, and empower you today to accomplish His purpose in your life? Will you choose today to bear fruit for God?
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.