Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
I don't know how your brain works, but here is a little insight into my brain.
I'm driving along and see a billboard for the lottery. This weeks big prize is $100 million. My mind immediately jumps into, "what would I do if I had $100 million?"
This consumes my thoughts. I put imaginary money in savings and live off the interest. I setup college funds for countless kids. I create accounts that feed my family and friends money each month so that they can't ruin their own lives with a huge lump sum of money, but they don't have to worry about finding a 'real job' anytime soon. I build houses. I restore houses. I restore old imaginary cars. I go on vacations. I questions if I could handle the money. Would I leave my family and run off to Europe? Would I start a drug habit that would ruin my life? Would I buy a yacht and throw crazy parties? Would the FBI come looking for me? Would my accountant try to steal money from me?
You get the idea.
The littlest things can send my mind down a path that I am practically helpless to stop. I either dwell on that train of thought until I reach my destination, or until another trigger sets off a new train of thought.
Does that happen to anyone else?
I'm assuming it does since Paul is practically writing about this very thing in Romans 8, and throughout the rest of the book. I mean, he didn't get to use the cool lotto analogy, but he makes pretty solid point without it.
If you are going to think about sinful things, then you're going to have sin in your life. If you are going to think about good things, then you'll be at peace, and enjoy life more.
Hasn't Tony Robbins been teaching that for years? Haven't countless motivational speakers been pulling money from our wallets with the same message; change the way you think.
There's an entire section at the book store devoted to helping us help ourselves by teaching us to change the way we think. Yet, it all goes back to Romans.
We have to make a conscious decision to spot the trains of thought that lead to dark places, to pull the lever and set the train on a new course.
Fortunately, God give us a helping hand with that; the Holy Spirit.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
When we allow God into our hearts, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This can be our guiding light. It's how God speaks to us. It's how God works through us. Without it, we can't possibly expect to please God.
The Holy Spirit is the catalyst for changing our thoughts, which in turn changes how we talk, and ultimately how we act. This isn't about following a bunch of man made rules and regulations. It's about freeing ourselves from the bondage of sin, and living the life we were meant to live.
Later, in Romans 12, Paul talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds. This doesn't happen overnight. It's not a once and done kind of thing. It takes work. It's hard. You'll fail. I fail. But, we keep moving forward with the hope that God has a plan for us, and that it is good.
The same power that brought Jesus back from the dead is inside us. That's -- That's amazing! Let your thoughts dwell on that for a while.
While you're thinking on the amazing power of God, call/text a friend and invite them to Radius this Sunday. We've still got a lot more to cover in Romans 8. And, if you want to check out Blake's teaching from this past Sunday, click here.