Some habits are good and keep us disciplined and healthy. But others, we’d freely admit are not so good, and we’d like to break them.
Maybe you can’t travel anywhere without a 24-pack of Mountain Dew, or maybe your kryptonite is coffee and Starbucks fuels that daily addiction. Maybe you’ve woken up hungover more times than you’d like to admit, or maybe the pull to pornography is too strong for you.
Some of us have the habit of criticizing and sometimes we don’t even realize it, but we find fault with everyone and everything. Others are in the habit of getting defensive and ignoring advice or gossiping and telling white lies. Even though we promise never to do it again, it’s a habit and habits are hard to break.
But hear Paul today when he says you have no obligation to do whatever your sinful nature urges you to do. Because as God’s people, you aren’t controlled by these habits, but you are controlled by the Spirit of God living in you. This is amazing power for God’s children to realize today; the same Spirit who rose Christ Jesus from the dead is offering His assistance to you in this day and in your life. Don’t try living in this world another moment without His help and presence, but be freed today by following the Holy Spirit.
1. What part of your sinful nature are you still battling against?
2. Recognize the Holy Spirit’s presence today, and invite Him into the battle: “Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your life-giving power. You’re able to free me from my habitual sin, and I know I can’t win the war without You. Please be in control, take over the situation, and may I experience Your victory even yet today.”
Life in the Spirit
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.