choosing the Spirit over the flesh

Good Sunday morning church family! 😊

I hope and pray this email finds all of you doing well and staying healthy as we grow ever closer to the celebration of Easter! Our scripture verse for today is taken from one of my favorite books of the Bible — Romans! We are looking at Romans 8:6-11 from the New International Version. 

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And 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 because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Two mind-sets are described in this passage: that of the sinful nature and that of the Spirit. The former leads to our death, the latter to life and peace. Praise God that as Christians we are indwelt by the life-giving Spirit as a result of our justification! Now our physical body will still die because of the effects of sin. However, the pledge and promise of the Spirit is that He will raise us to new life just as He did Jesus. 

On the other hand, people who do not know Christ and are living in the flesh are hostile to God. They are unable to submit to God’s law because they lack God’s Spirit, which is what makes submission to Him even possible. The presence of the Spirit is what marks us as belonging to Jesus.

But even as followers of Jesus, who have the Spirit living within us, we experience conflict between our flesh and the Spirit. 

  • Do we or do we not, often battle with whether or not to eat that extra donut? 
  • Do we or do we not, often battle with whether or not to blow our horn at the person who just cut us off? 
  • Do we or do we not, often battle with yelling at someone when we are angry with them?
  • Do we or do we not, often battle with whether or not to have that parking lot discussion?
  • Do we or do we not, often battle with our choices regarding what we view on TV, the internet, or which book we pick up?
  • And the list goes on…….

We know what the Spirit is leading us to do, but still, we often choose not to do it. In which case our flesh wins. Church family we are constantly doing battle with our flesh!! And sometimes multiple times in just one day!                                                                

So the question begs what can we do to help us win the battle between our flesh and His Spirit? Taking the following steps will help. 1) Identify our weaknesses, 2) recognize the things that tempt us, 3) stay away from the sources of temptation, 4) practice self-restraint, 5) consciously invest our time in good habits and service, (practice spiritual disciplines: read and study scripture, pray, participate in the sacraments, serve Christ, etc.) and finally, but most importantly, 6) lean on God’s strength and grace, (remember we do have the Holy Spirit within us)! 

The closer we become to Christ through the practice of spiritual disciplines, and the more we practice the above steps, the better we will become at choosing the Spirit over the flesh! The more we will shine His light, share His love and spread His joy!

Let us pray: Gracious God it is often difficult to choose to do the right thing. Help us to be led by the Spirit rather than to be led by our flesh. Strengthen us to stand strong against the battles we will face. Help us to turn to You when we are struggling. Help us to humble ourselves when need be — to cry out to You — in order to follow the leading of Your Spirit. We want to please You. We want to become more like You. And most of all we want to look like Your Son Jesus. And now let’s pray the words our Lord and Savior Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory now and forever. In the name of Jesus we ask pray. Amen!

And remember this virus does not impact our love for each other! It cannot stop our prayers for each other! And when we know the Lord, we have His peace……. Jesus loves you and so do I. If you need me I’m only a phone call, text, or email away……

God bless you and keep you! 

In His peace,

Pastor Cathy 

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