We're picking up where we left off in our series on Romans 8 which has rightfully been regarded as the chapter on "life in the Spirit."
The previous two pieces on our new management explored the following ideas:
- There is an alternative to the management of the unholy trinity of me-myself-and-I.
- The new management is the resurrection power of the Spirit: we can be transformed!
Now onto the last facet on this management:
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live Romans8:12-13
Our new management can overcome the old management.
We say "to err is human" and this is true. (Paul calls it the "misdeeds of the body.") Unfortunately many of us accept brokenness as a terminal condition that will either get worse or stay the same.
Scripture has a different perspective:
The power of the Holy Spirit can transform us from the inside out.
In his letter to the Philippians (1:6) Paul writes: "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
And later in the same letter (2:13) he says: "it is God who works in you to _will_ and to _act_ according to his good purpose."
What this means, practically speaking, is that every time we listen to the "still small voice of the Spirit" and every time we respond to His prompting, we are putting ourselves in a place where we can receive the power to "put to death the misdeeds of the body."
Our ability to resist the temptations of those "old habits that die so hard" is directly related to the quality of our relationship with God. If we allow ourselves to be loved by Him and put ourselves in spaces and places where we can be reminded of His love and express our love to Him, we will begin to reflect His light.
Imagine a mirror-ball. (those things you see in discos that rotate while spotlights shine on them and give your the pretty patterns on the floor) Our lives are like mirror balls where the mirrors are stuck on with prestik (that putty-like stuff that stays soft) and the little mirrors are all twisted and unaligned. The ball isn't pretty and it doesn't work so well. Living in sensitivity to the Spirit's prompting begins to align each of the little mirrors and when the light shines on us we reflect it in attractive patterns.