Thursday, January 10, 2019

Two Choices

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:5-6

Two ways to live – a choice to make. Will you live by the flesh, satisfying the desires of the flesh which leads to death, or will you live by the spirit which leads to life and peace?  It seems easy enough to make that choice, yet so many struggle and obviously Paul knew we were going to need some encouragement and direction on this issue. 
Our free will gives us opportunity to receive or reject the offers He makes.  I can listen to the voice of my flesh or the voice of the Spirit when it comes to understanding who I am.  It is the voice of the Spirit who tells me of my power and identity in God, yet we seek identity in so many other places, even our sin.  When we truly set our mind on the spirit and have a relationship with Him, everything changes.  Our relationships change, the way we spend our time and our motivation, our passions, how we live and how we die.  God doesn’t care what sin we have the most trouble with, what sin we love the most. He just wants us to realize that we sin. He wants us to realize that we are choosing sin and death over life and peace through obedience and relationship with Him.  
The space in my life taken up by sin is the space in my life that truly longs for God, His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace. The truth of what I need is found in God, not in all I replace Him with – the things of the flesh.  The peace and satisfaction I so desperately seek will only be found in one choice – to choose to live according to the spirit.  
To choose to live by the spirit is a choice that requires conscious effort.  It will not just happen automatically.  Part of that choice is to control our thoughts.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:5  Satan knows that if he can control our thoughts, he can likely control our hearts.  It is a battle we must be vigilant about fighting and always be on guard. 
How can we take our thoughts captive?
Feed your mind with truth-  Just like our bodies need good nutrition, our minds need to be fed good things too.  But he answered, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4The word of God is our source of truth.  The word of God is our spiritual nourishment.  Fill your mind with the truth of God’s word and the lies of the enemy will be easier to recognize and take captive.
Free you mind from destructive thoughts– Many things play into what captures our mind and tries to control our thoughts.  Our old sin nature – our weaknesses – seem to always come to mind at opportune times, orchestrated by Satan.  Again, Satan wants to control our mind, so he is always lurking, looking for ways to get in. The world’s value system is constantly being brought before us through the media, social media, etc.  We have to guard our hearts and minds from the world’s view of what will bring us satisfaction for our hunger. 
Focus on the right things – There are 3 things we can do to help us focus on the right things: Think about Jesus, think about others, and think about eternity.  Everything from the world teaches us to think about ourselves and nobody else.  It’s only in giving your life away, that you'll understand what it means to live.  Sometimes we only think about what is happening right now and we fail to take into consideration the long-term effects or consequences.  Think long term.
Choose life.  Set your mind on the Spirit and live in a relationship with God which leads to peace and life. 

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