Live According To The Spirit.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
God greatly desires that we keep our obligations. His very character is one that ensures that any promise that He makes is kept. We can trust His word, no matter what.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have an obligation to God – to stop living by the flesh. When we live by the flesh, we are suppressing the Truth, and bring shame upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We live by the flesh when we listen to our desires rather than to the Spirit of God. When we seek to bring about the fulfillment of personal pleasure rather than obedience to God, we are setting ourselves us for failure. Adam and Eve did this very thing when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and ate the fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil. We do the same when we seek out our selfish desires rather than the express will of God.
We have available to us the whole counsel of God, yet we often ignore it as we seek to alleviate the pain or pressures of this life in following our desires. We are told that the heart is deceitful. We must therefore rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. When we begin a path of ignoring the Holy Spirit of God in order to follow our own desires, we are setting ourselves up to spiritually die.
God reminds us that if we put to death the flesh by the Spirit, we will live. This is accomplished through reading and applying the Word of God under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit of God. He will lead us into all righteousness, for He knows all things. When we put to death (starve) the flesh, we are feeding the spirit. And when we feed the flesh, we are starving the spirit. Whichever one you feed, that is the one that grows.
God says that if we are led by the Spirit of God, we are His children. Jesus has told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We need to follow in His footsteps. We can only do that if we submit ourselves to the Spirit. Jesus did the very same thing. Jesus said that if we love Him we will obey his commands. Jesus also said that He is the vine and we are the branches. The branches receive nourishment from the vine, and cannot live on their own. Let us be known as the children of God by how faithfully we are obedient and submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit of God.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Are we feeding the flesh or are we feeding the Spirit?
A short prayer of preparation
Father in Heaven, I thank You for Your Word and Your patience with me. Show me in Your Word how to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Empower me to live according to Your Word, and strengthen my spirit that it would submit to You. Help me to starve my flesh from its evil desires, and to desire You. Fill me with a sense of purpose as I kill off that which does not conform to Your image, for all change is painful. Help me to deal with the consequences of obedience, that I may not flinch in the face of opposition or with any loss that may occur. Show me your beauty and grace as I move closer to You. This I ask in the precious name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.