The Holy Spirit in you is greater than Jesus beside you. When we talk about living the Christian life we commonly call that “living in the Spirit.” What does it mean to live in the Spirit? There are several key steps to really living in the Spirit. The first step is to know your position. The next step to living in the Spirit is . . . Mind the things of God. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:5-7).
What does it mean to “mind” something? There is a phrase that says . . . Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny. In other words, whatever you set your mind on shapes your lifestyle and character. To “mind” something or “set the mind” is much stronger than “to think about.” It means, “to focus intel on something, to be preoccupied with something, to have the attention and the imagination totally captured by something.”
Someone once said, “Your religion is what you do with your solitude.” Wherever your mind goes most naturally and freely when there is nothing else to distract it is what you really live for. Nothing happens in your life that you have not first chosen to focus on. The direction of your life is dictated by whatever preoccupies your mind. If you are going to live a life of holiness and overcome sin, you have to set your mind on the Spirit. You have two choices: your mind set on the flesh or your mind set on the Spirit. And the choice you make will determine where your life goes. One leads to death and another leads to life and peace . . . it’s your choice what direction you take!
Another way to put this is, “You are what you think.” Or, “What I think, I do.” Your mind is not neutral ground. It is impossible to coexist between two mindsets. Attention devoted to one will automatically cancel out the other. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8). Paul goes on to call us out. If you have truly come to know Christ and which means you have the Holy Spirit living within you, you cannot be following your sinful desires.
Paul says your thoughts which lead to your actions will tell on you. How you choose to live your life shows where your mind and heart really are. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:9-11).
The Holy Spirit in you is greater than Jesus beside you. When we talk about living the Christian life we commonly call that “living in the Spirit.” What does it mean to live in the Spirit? There are several key steps to really living in the Spirit. The first step is critical because it is . . . Know your position.
Where you start is critical to begin the process to where you are going. If you don’t start from the proper position or starting point your whole journey will be off or at best delayed. To truly live in the Spirit you must first know your position. Paul says in Romans 8, “1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2). Your position when you are in Christ is summarized in two words . . . no condemnation. To be “not condemned” is a legal term.
It means, “to be free from any debt or penalty.” Nobody has any charges against you. This is huge because it means God has nothing against you! He looks at you and finds no fault and nothing to punish you for. Before you get too excited, it gets even better than that. Sometimes we read this as having no condemnation for the moment. Almost like being in and out of court having to constantly defend yourself.
The phrase Paul uses doesn’t simply mean that Christians are just “not condemned” but is much stronger. He says that for Christians there is no condemnation at all. It’s not that we have moved out from under it for a while and it could return. The word Paul uses means it doesn’t exist anymore! So many times we want to limit the meaning of “no condemnation” to our past and present. But Paul is saying that for the believer condemnation does not exist at all even into the future. Past, present and future there is no condemnation for the Christian!
It is critical that we always remember that fact . . . If you are a Christian there is no condemnation for you past, present or future! But what if you do forget that, 1 there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1). First thing that happens if you forget is to feel far more guilt, unworthiness and pain than you should. You feel the need to “prove yourself”. As a result you become overly sensitive, defensive, no confidence in relationships, addictive behaviors take over, and you lack confidence and joy in your prayer and worship.
The second thing that happens if you forget is less motivation to live a holy life. When you don’t understand the permanence of “no condemnation” your motivation to live for God comes from the totally wrong source. Instead of being motivated to love God from the proper and much more powerful source of love and gratitude you are only motivated by fear and duty. When you live in love and gratitude you experience freedom. But when you live in fear it puts you in a position of bondage.
Living in the Spirit
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Years ago I read a book called Good Morning, Holy Spirit. I am not quite sure that it was the most theologically correct book but the concept has been with me ever since. When I first get up in the morning, the usual greeting to the people I see before noon is “Good Morning.” Especially when I first rise out of bed and see my wife or kids if they happen to be home. With a covered mouth to remove the odor of “morning breath” I greet them with the words, “Good Morning.” Why do I do that? Why would I not just walk past them and never utter a word? Because, I am very excited to see them and so glad they are there with me.
Have you ever thought about first thing in the morning telling the Holy Spirit, “Good Morning.” Truthfully, He is one of the first persons to you are with when you get up in the morning. Because He is actually living inside you. When you tell somebody, “Good Morning” you are letting them know . . . you are glad to see them . . . you are so blessed to have them with you . . . you are getting ready to tackle the day and glad to have them with you as you move into the day . . . etc. We should be telling the Holy Spirit the same things.
When was the last time you told the Holy Spirit, “Good Morning” letting Him know you are glad to see Him and blessed to have Him with you as you are getting ready to take on the day. There is a worship song that has been out for a while that says, “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for. To be overcome by Your presence, Lord” Sing that to God today. If you don’t know the song or feel like you can’t sing, tell God that today. Remember . . . The Holy Spirit in you is greater than Jesus beside you.