Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Living in the Spirit, Not in the Flesh

One day while I was driving my daughters to their Bible Study at church, my mind began to drift back to difficult times in our past.  Things that happened we never dreamed could happen, but they did.  Then all of a sudden I began to think of how unfair it was for these things to happen to us.  I had a "What did I do to deserve that?" attitude.  I immediately captured that thought and threw it out.  It happened so fast that I almost didn't catch it!  I was caught off guard...a good sign of living in the flesh rather than the Spirit.
Here is what Romans 8:5 says,
"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."

Our family has seen a lot of adversity & turmoil the past 8 years. At times it seems like we are on a roller coaster of troubled times and just can' t get off.  I've prayed David's prayer many times from Psalms 123, "Have mercy on us O LORD."  My flesh cries out saying, "Please stop this and let us live in easy times again."  But, then the Spirit begins to speak to me, reminding me of my purpose as a daughter of the King.  My purpose is to bring glory to God.  I am to reveal God to others through the way I live my life.  More simply put; I am to make God look good.  I cannot do this if I am whinning, "It's not fair!" all the time.

I have a choice.  When circumstances arrive I have a choice at my reaction.  I can glorify God through my response; react in the Spirit.  Or I can cry, pout, complain and react in the flesh.  Which one brings glory & honor to God?  the answer is so obvious, but not as easy as stated.

Here are a few "flesh" responses I have had in my life.
  • Why did you let this happen?
  • I don't deserve this!
  • I don't have time for this!
  • I want a break!
  • When will this be over?
  • Why is their life so easy & mine is so hard?

Any of those sound familiar? 

Paul said in Romans 7:15,
"I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do but what I hate I do."
I'm right there with you Paul!  I know what my response should be, but I still react the wrong way!  Aack!  Will I ever react the right way & actually glorify my God?  The answer is yes, it is possible.
We learn from Jesus how we are to live.  Paul was a good example as he went through way more than most of us will ever go through in our life as a believer, but he learned from Christ how he should live. 
John 12:27, Jesus replied to Andrew and Philip, 
"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour?' No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!"

Jesus knew what his ultimate purpose was, to glorify his Father.  He knew that God would be glorified through his own suffering.

Here are some Spirit responses I am learning to make;
  • How can I bring glory to you in this?
  • Teach me your way through this.
  • Help me to be faithful to you.
  • Father, help me!

I have learned that when I live in the Spirit I have joy & peace in the midst of terrible circumstances.  My valley experiences don't feel like valley experiences.  When I am living in the Spirit I radiate God's love & joy.  Others want to know how I can experience all that I have & still be so happy.  My mind must be on what the Spirit desires, not what the flesh desires.

 Make Psalm 73:26 your prayer.
"My  flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

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