Romans 8:5 “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.” (NIV)
This verse always drags me into “how not to set my mind on the things of this world, but on the things of the Spirit.” I always wrestle with where I am at, what I am doing, and how to focus more on the things of the Spirit. Chapter 8 of Romans is the victory chapter that ties down the seven previous chapters, which covered the problem of sin, our struggle, what was meant by Christ’s birth, life and death, and the proclamation of victory in Christ. Even with Paul’s explicit writings, I sometimes do not quite feel it. What then am I missing? With that
question this phrase in verse 5 jumped out at me - “What the Spirit desires.” Instantly I knew that I needed to quit focusing on what I am not
doing, and that I need to enter the world of God’s desires. When God’s desires captivate my heart, living in the Spirit becomes easy. When God’s desires become my desires, living in the Spirit becomes a breath of fresh air.
The question now changes from “how do you live in accordance with the Spirit” to “how do God’s desires become your desires?” I would suggest three things in allowing God to transform your desires: First, every day ask God to fill your heart with His desires. Second, every day
have a quiet time (prayer and Bible reading) to provide God a venue and an opportunity for God’s transforming power to change your desires to His desires. The third way to fill your heart with God’s desires is to crucify your desires on the
cross, so that God’s desires are not crowded out by your desires. Romans 6:5 says, “If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” (NIV) It is difficult for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His desires when your desires leave little room for Him in your life. Visually and prayerfully give your desires to God and allow God to change your desires. Just as Jesus crucified His flesh on the cross for the redemption of your sins and life, so you must crucify on the cross of Christ your misdirected desires of which God has convicted you. Allow God’s resurrecting power in the Holy Spirit to transform your desires to match His desires. John 3:6 says it simply, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (NIV)
Do you know someone who needs this message on living in the Spirit and not the flesh? If so, forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ.
Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Your Life in Christ” and “Transformation.”
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