Welcome back to our study of Romans 8, my dear friends. I am just loving digging into God's Word and reading your comments! That is such a testimony to my heart and spirit of how the Holy Spirit unifies us and reveals the truth of God's Word to each of us as a community. Amazing! Please keep sharing.
Today let's start with Romans 8:5-8. Paul brings out a vital truth in this section that is so foundational to the heart and strength of empowered living—living empowered by and walking with the Holy Spirit.
It starts in our minds, my friends. If I can bring one truth across to you above all else is that in order for us to live empowered lives of faith, we must have transformed minds (Romans 12:2). If you recall, I wrote a seven part series on this last year, sharing my own journey of how I submitted to the Holy Spirit and God's Word to transform my mind. The Holy Spirit revealed lies I didn't even know were there. It wasn't easy—probably the most challenging walk of my faith to date, but I am grateful to King Jesus for what He did and continues to do in my mind and in my heart.
NLT: 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
NIV: 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. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
The Voice: 5 If you live your life animated by the flesh—namely, your fallen, corrupt nature—then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh. But if you live your life animated by the Spirit—namely, God’s indwelling presence—then your focus is on the work of the Spirit. 6 A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace. 7 You see, a mind focused on the flesh is declaring war against God; it defies the authority of God’s law and is incapable of following His path. 8 So it is clear that God takes no pleasure in those who live oriented to the flesh.
The Message: 5 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! 6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. 7 Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. 8 And God isn't pleased at being ignored.
Verse six is a clear statement of our mental state with and without God. Think about this in your own life, how you feel, think and operate when you are more focused on yourself than on God, when you are in a state of worry instead of trusting God, and perhaps even before knowing Christ and the condition of your mind then.
Now relate this to your pre-believer. We often grow frustrated with our pre-believers for not operating within the realm of having the mind of Christ, but how can they? Their minds are still self obsessed (some to the point of clinical diagnoses) and focused on things about themselves and the world. How can they operate otherwise without the Holy Spirit working in them? And thus why our prayers for their minds, hearts and lives are so important. Gives new meaning to 2 Cor. 7:14 about the believer's faith sanctifying the unbeliever, doesn't it?
For us, as believers, I believe this is an ongoing process that will not end until we are on the other side of the veil with Jesus. We continue to work with the Holy Spirit, submitting to His authority and power to bring this "control"—Godly guidance to revelation, truth, healing, strength and growth. AND, we must also guard our minds against the enemy's attempts to snatch these truths away. That is what he does to us as he prowls around and to our pre-believers as they come closer to the truth. That is when the enemy will fight harder (against God and us) to keep our pre-believers in darkness, and why the battle can grow fiercer right before breakthrough.
But let me remind you (and myself) that we do not do this in our own strength. We have a mighty power within us that transcends anything on this earth. In Romans 8:9-11, I will show you exactly what that power is and it is BIG! I’ll never forget the first time I came across this revelation—I about fell out of my chair. And my heart and goal has been to live from this place of empowerment ever since. I believe it and I want to live it. How about you?
Love you, my friends. Thank you again for going on this journey with me through Romans 8!