7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 8:11–10:19
Romans 8:9-25
Psalm 18:16-36
Proverbs 19:26

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Romans 8:8-9 (NLT): “That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 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 remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)”

Reflections from Scripture:

OK. You’re probably reading this in the morning, and you may only be on your first cup of coffee. So, let’s keep this reasonably lite even though the truths found in these two verses are so profound that they could take us to the bottom of the ocean.

Let’s begin by defining “flesh.” It’s not talking about skin. It’s not talking about our physical body. “Flesh” is referring to the source of the sinful desires within us. Someone who is not a Jesus-follower is always “in the flesh” because their desire is to satisfy their cravings. Instead of being God-centered, they are self-centered. This isn’t to say that unbelievers are as sinful as they can be. It simply means that they are regularly compelled to satisfy their desires apart from God.

A Christian can certainly be “in the flesh,” too. Even though we have surrendered our life to Jesus, we periodically live for ourselves and seek to satisfy a personal desire (some of which are legitimate) in ways apart from the Lord. 

So, what does it mean to be “in the Spirit?”

It means that we are motivated and controlled differently. Rather than our desires coming from our “flesh,” they come from the Holy Spirit. Both are within us. But, one leads us down a dead-end road, and the other leads us to life.

How do you know if you are “in the Spirit?”

The answer to that question begins with a couple more questions: “What kind of cravings are you desiring to meet?” “How are you attempting to satisfy those cravings?”

If those desires are primarily self-centered, they are of the flesh. If they are primarily God-centered and others-centered, then they are probably of the Spirit. If satisfying legitimate desires would go against a principle(s) found in Scripture or is met apart from the Lord, they are of the flesh. But, on the other hand, if satisfying those legitimate desires complies with God’s Word and is found in Him, then they are probably of the Spirit.

How do I get “in the Spirit?”

Rather than continue to lengthen this article, let me simply share a link where you can explore what it means to be Spirit-filled. It’s from the late Bill Bright’s ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ, and you can access it by clicking here.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I am no more able to live the Christian life after I got saved than before I was saved. That’s why You have given the Holy Spirit to me. Help me to regularly feel my inadequacies so that I am motivated to depend upon the Holy Spirit to live His life out through me. After all, it’s only what He does through me that will be rewarded in Heaven. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Sunguk Kim on Unsplash