Romans 8:5 (NiV) “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.”
Either your ego or God’s Spirit can control your mind. Your thoughts can be dominated with self interest, or guided by the Word. You can choose to live for selfish desires or live for God’s purposes. You can seek self-advancement, or growth in the Spirit of our living God. Though we are limited in our finite selves, God’s Spirit is unlimited and empowers us, when we seek to live in harmony with His Spirit. You have the living, breathing, empowering Spirit of God in you, children of God. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, the same resurrection power that brings life from death, is giving you new life! Place your focus on the Spirit of God inside you. Choose to live freely in and by His Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:5 (MSG) “Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.”
Photo: Manitoba, Canada
Romans 5:2 “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
See how God’s peace goes before our suffering and His hope comes out of our suffering. Because we stand firm in His grace, our suffering doesn’t cause us to give up, but to persevere; suffering leads to perseverance in Christ! Ever-growing perseverance develops a strong character; Christ is laying the firm foundation for who we are. Strong identification with Christ brings eternal hope, sealed by God’s love.
1 Peter 4:13 “… be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Richard Rohr says that people “who are in union with both the pain of the world and the love of God, are prepared to read the Bible.” As our mind is changed by our sensitivity to suffering and our acceptance of God’s love for us, we are able to understand God’s Word, know Jesus internally and serve Him outwardly. Sometimes it feels 2 steps forward and 1 step back, as we often first blame God for our suffering, or don’t feel His love in the moment… but if we persevere and willingly take on the mind and character of Christ, He can use and transform our suffering by His great love to lend deeper understanding of His Word and Will, develop our character, and deliver hope.
Photo: Barcelona, Spain
Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God-those whom he has called according to his plan.”
God has called us, who love Him, into His loving plan of redemption. The “good” for which all things in our life work together has eternal consequences. We are separated from sin and darkness, weaned from the world, united with Christ, conformed to His image, renewed by His truth in our minds, transformed in our hearts, inspired to love, motivated to action for Him, held by His grace, redeemed by His mercy and carried into glory. What cause for hope!
Photo: French Quarter, New Orleans