Energy Supplier

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my flesh nature a slave to the law of sin.  (Romans 7:14-25)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 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. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 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.  (Romans 8:1-13)
Yesterday we saw that we don’t have it in ourselves to do the good things that we want to do, or to stop doing the bad things that we do not want to do. Today we are going to look at why that is. The Apostle Paul uses an important Greek word in the original text of Romans 7:14. He tells us that the problem derives from the fact that we are often “sarkikos” – that is, “empowered by our own flesh”. Whenever we rely on our own strength to change ourselves (whether that is through willpower, or through New Year’s Resolutions, or through rewarding and punishing ourselves) we will always end up failing. It never works for us when we rely on our own ‘flesh’, because our ‘flesh’ is part of the problem. It is like asking the striker from the other team to become part of your defensive wall for a free-kick in football. Because of original sin, we need to recognise that our ‘flesh’ is playing for the other side!

In the New Testament, our ‘flesh’ is not the same thing as our ‘body’. The Apostle Paul is not telling us that that our minds and hearts are pure, but that our bodies are sinful. In the New Testament, our ‘flesh; describes ‘whatever comes naturally to a fallen human being’. It is as much about our old ways of thinking and reacting emotionally as it is about our physical bodies. The ‘flesh’ was the energy supplier that used to empower our old way of living before we were born again through faith in Jesus. It cannot fuel our new walk with him. We need a new energy supplier.

Praise God, that’s the good news of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul informs us that God has now given us his Holy Spirit to act as our new energy supplier. The moment that we surrendered our lives to Jesus, the Lord put “the Spirit who gives life within us.” If we continue to run our lives off the ‘flesh’, then we will never see our lives change, but if we consciously switch our power supply onto ‘the Spirit’, then we have all the power we need.

Some people object that they do not feel as if the Holy Spirit truly lives inside them. Paul responds that, if we have given our lives to Jesus, then he has given his Spirit to us. It’s that simple. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Or to put the same thing more positively, “If anyone belongs to Christ, they have the Spirit of Christ.” The same Holy Spirit who raised the corpse of Jesus to life on Easter Sunday now lives within you! Your ‘flesh’ needs to stay in the tomb, but he has raised you – spirit, soul and body – to new life in Jesus.

You don’t have it in you to live like Jesus … and yet you do! The Holy Spirit who lives inside you changes everything!
  1. Re-read the first few verses of Romans 8 a bit more slowly. How would you summarise this good news in a single sentence?
  2. Which energy supplier empowers your life currently? Are you living each day by ‘the flesh’ or by ‘the Spirit’?
  3. How often do you talk to the Holy Spirit? Well, guess what – collaborating with him involves talking to him! Why not spend some time today talking to the Holy Spirit, thanking him that he lives inside you and asking him to empower you to live the Christian life you always wanted?
Dear Holy Spirit, I thank you so much that you are God. Please help me not to make you the neglected person of the Trinity. I thank you that you began to live inside me when I put my faith in Jesus, and that even now you are the fountain of life within me that empowers my life with Jesus every day. I speak to you today as God-On-The-Inside-of-Me and I ask you to work your resurrection power within me. I am switching energy suppliers to you today! Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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