Here I am again, in a constant boxing match with my flesh. My flesh wants one thing, & it seems like God is wanting something else. There are sometimes when it's no struggle at all to want what God wants. Actually, that's how I feel most of the time. But then there are the situations, like this one, where it becomes an absolute struggle against my flesh and what I want.
Today in the ring: God's Spirit vs. My Flesh. Thankfully, God knew exactly what I needed to read to get my flesh down for the count. I wrote these verses down this morning from the L3 before I even knew I would need them. Now I really have to let these punches sink into my head and heart.
Right Hook: Romans 8:6 "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." Why do I want to fight for something (my flesh) that is only going to lead me to death spiritually? Instead, I have to set my mind on the Spirit because that's the only way to life and peace.
Left Hook: Romans 8:8 "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Well, it doesn't get more clear than that one. In my flesh, I am not pleasing to God. That reminds me of Hebrews 11:6 that my small group and I talked about yesterday. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
Cross Punch: Romans 8:14 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." When I am led by the Spirit, I am walking in my rightful role of being a son (daughter) of God. When I am walking in my flesh, I am not living as a son or daughter of God.
Uppercut: Romans 8:15 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out 'Abba Father'!" I have been set free from the slavery of my flesh. I now have the ability to let go of my wants and desires, in order to receive what God has for me. He is our Abba Father, our "daddy."
Jab: Romans 8:24-25 "Who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." My sister posted a quote on Facebook yesterday that said, "Hope is believing God can, Faith is believing God will." My small girls and I talked yesterday about FAITH is when you are "Fully Acticipating It Totally Happening." I need to stop trying to believe in what I can see. Right now, what I see God doing in my life isn't making any sense to me. But I have to have faith in His promises. I have to hope for what I cannot see right now.
Half Hook: Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." For me, this morning, this verse meant so much. The Spirit can help me in my weakness if I will let Him. It's so true. I don't know what in the world to pray right now! But this verse shows how compassionate and full of love our God is towards us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, but not just flippantly. He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. What love! He feels our pain and confusion. He knows how badly I am battling my flesh right now. He is praying for me.
Cross-Counter Punch: Romans 8:35,37-39 "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
There is nothing that can happen in my life that can separate me from the love of God. His love for us is so strong and so deep. I can trust someone who loves me that much. I can trust Him to have complete control of my life. Even though I don't understand what He is doing right now, I can have FAITH in His promises because He loves me, He is praying for me, and He will accomplish His purposes for my life. When I set my mind on the Spirit instead of on what my flesh wants, it will lead to life and peace and it will be pleasing to my God.
Those are fighting words. But the only way to fight and win these kind of matches between the flesh and the Spirit is to take off the boxing gloves, lay them down, and surrender to God.
God, I am setting my mind on You today. I will walk in the Spirit. I will trust You. You are working out a plan for me right now that is greater than what I can see with my eyes or what I could imagine in my mind. I am Fully Anticipating It Totally Happening!