Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Romans 8:1-11 (NRSV)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit[a] of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Living in the flesh in this passage means living by our sinful nature. Christ has freed us from the law so that we now live in the Spirit of life which is to be found in Jesus Christ. No one could have kept all the aspects of the law. So Jesus came down to live in this messy world with us. Jesus showed us how to live. Jesus taught us how to live in the spirit of love.
During Jesus’ ministry, he welcomed sinners into his midst. He did not judge them or cast them aside. He even took a tax collector, Matthew, to be one of his twelve disciples.
When we allow our sinful natures to rule our lives, we seek solutions to our pain by temporary measures. Some people may overindulge in alcohol or do illicit drugs. When we live according to our spiritual natures, we seek more permanent pain relievers such as prayer and meditation. Sinful things bring only temporary relief that can cause permanent damage. Living a life according to the teachings of Christ enables us to get through the difficult and painful times of life. We will all experience pain and suffering as human beings. How do we wish to handle it? We can handle it on our own terms or trust in the promises of Jesus Christ.
God, sometimes I must struggle with desires that are unhealthy. Please help me to resist my sinful nature so that I may live in the Spirit. God, I know that with your help I can overcome the weaknesses I have. Amen.
Go with God!