The book of Romans is considered Paul’s greatest letter and chapter 8 is considered the greatest chapter. Last week, Pastor Zac preached through verses 1-4. We saw that we cannot deliver ourselves from sin. That is why Jesus came. We need more than what we can do. We need what only God can do. As we look at the next verses, we’ll see that living for Jesus isn’t just following your feelings. It is more than doing what feels right to you, being controlled by your emotions, and more than sentimental feelings towards God.
More than Feelings…You Need a New Mindset
In verses 5-8, Paul talks about the mind and a mindset. Living for Jesus starts with belief not behavior. Like the sayings go, “What you believe will control how you behave,” “You are what you think,” and “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Even though we have been set free from the condemnation of sin, we often struggle with the haunting, lingering feelings of shame and condemnation. If you want to walk in freedom, in victory, it depends on where you set your mind. What are you focusing your attention on? The mind needs to be set on something; it won’t just happen accidentally. Second Corinthians 10:3 reminds us that we have powerful weapons we can use to help us take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. There is an ongoing battle, a war being waged in the mind. The war you must win is the war within! Stop listening to the lies of the devil and fill your mind with truth. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free! If you are having a problem with your Christian walk, the problem is not your feet it is your mind. When your mind is set on the wrong thing, your feet automatically go in the wrong direction. Every day you have a choice to make. It’s like choosing which channel to watch on TV. You need to pray and fill your mind with the Word of God. Think right and you will do right. Think wrong and you will do wrong.
More than Feelings…You Need a New Spirit
In these same verses, Paul also contrasts the flesh and the Spirit. He’s contrasting those who are still in Adam and dead in their sins with those who have been made alive in Christ. The condition of the flesh is hopeless, death, vain, empty. It’s hostile toward God. Sin affects our mind, emotions, affection, and will. It has an anti-God bias. Thoughts, assumptions, presuppositions, and human logic are all hostile toward God. The flesh is helpless and cannot please God (v. 8). Flesh is yourself without Him. It’s full of self-centeredness, selfishness. Sin is the big “I” problem: “I” in the place of God. Romans 7 is about I, me, and my. In Romans 8 we read about the Holy Spirit 21 times! Fellowshipping with the Spirit means putting God in each of these places where you previously had self. You think on God’s will (not my will); God’s glory (not my glory). You need the Spirit’s help, not self-help. The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
More than Feelings…You Need New Life
Christianity is not just a new set of beliefs or new behavior. It is belonging to Christ (v.9). It is like getting married. You arrive at the wedding single. You leave the wedding belonging to someone else. “Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 10-11). We need a resurrection, not religion. Our bodies are dying and decaying. Just look in the mirror! One day our bodies will experience what our soul has already experienced. We are “born again” and spiritually raised from the dead, and one day our bodies will be too. Just as our spirit is free from the curse now, our body will be freed from the curse at the resurrection.
I pray that the Holy Spirit has connected the dots for you. You understand following Jesus starts with belief not behavior. You need the Spirit’s help not self-help. You need a resurrection to life not dead religion. If you are ready for a new mindset, a new Spirit, and new life, ask the Lord in prayer now. Remember the words of the old hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
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