Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spirit vs. Flesh - June 16th, 2011

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25

History and Context: 
The book of Romans was of course written by Paul to the church in Rome, probably around 55 - 57 AD. The history and beginnings of the church in Rome is not fully known. Most scholars believe that they established themselves without the help of any Apostle and without seeing any signs or miracles. There was a strong mix of Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome at this time and they seem to have gotten in many arguments. The Jewish Christians wanted the Gentiles to be circumcised and to follow the law to the letter, whereas the Gentile Christians attempted to say that they were better and that the Jews were rejected as God's people. Paul addresses both of these issues in his letter.

The Text:
Because Paul is addressing two opposite opinions, parts of Romans can be a bit confusing at times. Here Paul is addressing the fight within us to either do good or evil. He talks about two laws, the law of God and the law of sin and one part of him wants to serve the law of God, but another part of him wants to serve the law of sin. The first sentence provides us with an important revelation towards these two parts: "I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good." What Paul is saying here is that he is not evil. He is the one that "wills to do good", but that evil is with him trying to take him away from that good. This is an important revelation for those of us who find ourselves in this same struggle. No matter how much I feel an urge to do evil, I am not evil, I am good, even though that evil is with me. The we see the deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord and we see the division between the mind and the flesh. This good news is continued in Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." If we learn to walk according to the Spirit, we are not condemned for the evil that is with us!
The Challenge:
The challenge for today is two fold. First, I challenge you to start thinking better about yourself. You are good! True, there is a nature in you that desires to do evil, but you are good! Now once you have established that in your mind and in your heart begin to identify what you, your spirit, wants to do and follow that. Here's a hint: Your spirit wants to line up with the Word of God. Each time you choose to follow the Word and not to follow your flesh, your spirit's voice will become stronger and easier to follow next time. So begin following that Spirit voice!

The Prayer:
Lord, help me to see myself the way you see me. The way the blood of Christ has made me. Help me to understand that I am good. I am a good person! Because you have made me good. Thank you for making me good. Help me to hear the voice of my spirit which is trying to follow after you. Help me to make decisions throughout my day to follow that voice and not to follow the other voice of evil. Thank you Lord for being with me and for making me good. In Jesus' name Amen!

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