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Spiritual Obligation

Romans 8:12-14
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 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, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (NIV)

Naturally, our own sinful nature is very demanding. It demands that self is put first, our body pampered, our desires indulged and our fantasies entertained. It says that we have to obey or we will die! But that is a lie. The truth is exactly the opposite: if we give in to that sinful nature, we will die!

By contrast God's Spirit urges us to reject those sinful, selfish and destructive demands and reconstruct our lifestyle with His help. Then we will know life in all its fullness. Those who allow themselves to be led by God's Spirit demonstrate that they belong to His family. The powerful guidance of the Spirit will enable believers to stand against the tyranny of habitual sin. The Holy Spirit will show us how to extinguish the flames of that old life and give us the courage to do it.

People who are filled with the Holy Spirit will obey Him, and turn away from the cravings of the flesh. That is our daily spiritual obligation. Yes, it will upset our fleshliness; yes, it will feel like a big internal battle - but we are not alone, the Lord is with us ... and as we are His sons we have His authority to deal with the lies of Satan. As we do so, our relationship with God will grow richer and deeper. Indeed, failure to deal with the sinful nature is the prime cause of losing that closeness of relationship. So let God's Spirit lead you into today's battle, challenging the right of your sinful nature to control you, and experience the victory of Christ.

God of power and might. Thank You for calling me to obey You and to challenge the sinful nature within me. I am sorry for the times I have not even bothered to resist the demands of that nature. Please give me fresh courage today, by Your Spirit as a child of the Living God, to say 'no' to ungodliness and to live as a member of Your family. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams