Spirit & Truth # 287
“Make Up Your Mind”
By Greg Smith
During political seasons, people draw lines and choose sides even more than they do during the rest of the year. Friends choose sides against one another. Water cooler politics reveal which co-workers are on your team and which are not. It seems there’s no room for middle ground. Each party believes that they are right, and the other is wrong. Truly it is difficult to have it both ways.
The same is true in the struggle between flesh and spirit. The flesh wants those things that are harmful to the spirit, and your spirit wants to bring your fleshly desires under submission. In Romans 8:5-7 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes, “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. 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.” So, just as a voter must make up her mind in a political debate, so the believer must make up his mind in the spiritual debate that rages within the human heart. Which will you serve—the flesh, or the spirit?
No doubt, most Christians would say that the spirit’s will should overcome the flesh’s demands. The problem is that the power of the flesh seems so strong. But believers are not helpless before the flesh’s insistencies. Verse 11 (NIV) says, “…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.”
If someone’s heart stops, they can be revived by the electric shock of a defibrillator. But machines like this can only revive a person who has died within the past few minutes. Imagine the power it must have taken to raise Jesus from the dead, after He had been in the grave for three days! The Bible says that the same kind of power that raised Jesus from the dead—that sent the stone exploding from the tomb entrance like a bullet from a gun—that dynamic energy of God that still radiated off the resurrected Jesus—that power now dwells in you. The powerful Holy Spirit gives you strength to enable your spirit to win its battle against the flesh.
So, verses 1 and 2 declare in notes of celebration: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” When you find you can’t be good by relying on your own strength—rejoice! You’ve just learned the lesson that Jesus has been trying to teach you all along. But rely on His power for forgiveness and for righteousness, and you will walk free of condemnation, and free of the demands of the flesh. This is Jesus’ promise that gives life and peace.