So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.Romans 8:12-13, ESV
Not long ago, I threw a temper tantrum with God.
This was no little huff, I’m ashamed to say. No, I flung myself before the Throne of Grace in a gigantic sulk complete with foot-stomping and surly protestations of His Divine decisions.
What had happened? I didn’t get my way.
Oh, it seemed more complex to me at the time. After all, some of my requests were very spiritual – even holy desires.
Others were less so – a job I thought better suited my circumstances. Weariness over certain inconveniences. Health trials. That sort of thing.
So when God called me to a much more challenging role, I felt crushed. After all, I had labored for decades to homeschool my crew, pushing through chronic illness and sacrificing a career to follow the Lord’s calling on my life – a calling I very much lacked the qualifications to accomplish. I deserved this easier job.
For the moment, I’d imagined I lived in a world where my sin nature had evaporated and my behavior merited reward. I’d forgotten that my best works were mere filthy rags; that Christ died to save me from what I actually deserve. I’d forgotten my obligation is not to myself but to the King who bought me with His own blood.
I am not Master – He is. And that means I go where He tells me to go, knowing He will never call me to anything and leave me to do it without Him. He will be there with me through it all, lending His strength and qualifications to show His glory through my weakness.
This, my friends, is what it means to live according to the Spirit. Not only does living in the Spirit mean turning from “obvious” sins like adultery, drunkenness, thievery, and such. I must also obey my Lord even when it means dying to what I think will be more comfortable for me or what fits my ideals or time frames.
It means putting to death the “me” in me and living fully for the King of kings. It’s humbling. It’s exciting. And above all else, it’s worth every inconvenience, every prick of pain, and every tear shed, because seeing God come through in ways I never even imagined is more fulfilling than anything my cranky, childish flesh could ever dream up.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Prayerfully ask the Lord to help you take inventory of your heart. Where are you living according to your flesh rather than according to His Spirit?
- How do you plan to address the sneaky, subtle ways you choose your way over God’s?
- Spend time in prayer and ask the Lord to change your desires to fit with His.