So then brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:12-17 NASB (emphasis mine)
….“by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body”…. how often do we forget this?
I know I do, more than I would like to admit. Even today, after I made a snarky remark, my husband gently asked me how my prayer time was this morning and reminded me that I wasn’t acting in a way befitting of my Messiah. Thankfully I had spent time in prayer this morning, for there have been times when I haven’t and would have replied with yet another snarky remark. Instead I received the gentle correction as not coming only from my husband but from the Lord, and spent a few minutes repenting and seeking His help in walking in a way that would honor and please Him. Perhaps that is why this passage caught my eye tonight. It is only by His Spirit that we can overcome those impulses that come from our fallen human nature. We can’t live this life in our own strength and please Him. But how often do we not even realize that we are walking in the flesh? How often are we just so used to saying the little comments, or thinking them, or acting in little unbecoming ways, that we don’t identify them as being from the flesh and, therefore, something we should crucify…. remember we are to have died with Messiah… Yeshua may have been crucified once on the tree, but He lived His entire life on earth crucifying His flesh to walk in obedience to the Father, and by the Spirit we are to follow His example.
“…indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” The suffering that we are all partake in is crucifying our old nature, for it loves to rear it’s ugly head. We love the thought of being children of God, of being joint heirs with Christ, but do we love the thought of no longer walking after the flesh? Do we seek Him daily for help to no longer desire the things that entice our flesh? Do we actually look to the Comforter, the Helper, the One who Yeshua said He would send us, to help us walk out this new life that we have been born from above into, to correct us, to encourage us, to strengthen us? We must understand that the flesh has no part in God for it cannot please Him and refuses to subject itself to Him (Romans 8:6-8), and if we continue to cultivate a life in the flesh instead of crucifying it, we will not be glorified with Yeshua and we will not inherit the kingdom of God! (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5-6). But, if we suffer in the flesh and crucify its desires and actions in obedience to God, and walk according to the Spirit and allow His life to grow in us, we will be made into the likeness of our Savior. Oh, could any of us desire anything more? When it is not about us, but all about Him and His nature being manifested in our lives, then indeed we are children of God!
It is easy to get caught up in “outward”, to see things that have been changed or twisted from what was originally meant and want to return to them, but that must not take precedence over the inward – the circumcision of our hearts. God wants us to be aware of the things in ourselves that are not pleasing to Him, and to humble ourselves before Him and ask for His Spirit to strengthen us to put to death those things that we might have Messiah’s life to reign in us… to live for the will of the Father (Hebrews 10:9)!