“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6 ESV).
The last two posts have been about learning how to Walk in the Spirit and being Led by the Spirit. This morning we will finish this theme (for now!) thinking about how to live in the Spirit. The topic is vast, and many volumes could be written about it, but I believe that we make it much more difficult than it needs to be.
It really all comes down to knowing the Word, listening for direction, and obedience. Well… you could definitely add repentance in there as well, for the times we miss the mark.
Getting to know the Word is simple, conceptually anyway. We learn the Word by reading the Word, by listening to the Word being preached, by memorizing, by meditating on the Word, and even by sharing the Word. Very few have a valid excuse for not spending time with the Bible is one fashion or another.
Listening for direction is perhaps the hardest part of this process to nail down. It takes discipline to learn to hear that still, small voice. And once we believe that we have direction from the Spirit, we need to make sure that it lines up with the written Word, the Bible. The Holy Spirit will never give you direction that contradicts the Bible.
We learn to discern the Holy Spirit’s voice, through experience. And that experience comes from obedience! Will we make mistakes? Absolutely! That is where repentance comes in.
When we obey what we perceive as the promptings of the Holy Spirit, after ensuring that they are in accord with scripture, we move forward. Even if our perception was wrong, and we misheard His voice, obedience moves us forward. We need to evaluate our experiences, figure out where we might have gone wrong, or recognizing where we absolutely got it right. Every experience should be seen as an opportunity to grow closer to God through the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Our text reminds us that whether we will stand or fall depends largely on where we set our sights. If we focus on getting closer to God, we will get closer to God; we will learn to live in the Spirit. If we focus on the things of this world, on meeting our own selfish desires, we die to the leading of the Holy Spirit a little bit more every time.
If you have ever been a part of team organizing or brainstorming for something, and have been continually shot down or interrupted, then you know what I’m talking about. You offer your input, but no one listens; or they disregard your opinions outright. It doesn’t take long before you cease offering your opinions! I’ve always been told, and firmly believe, that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He won’t interrupt when we are talking. He won’t force His views on us. If we won’t listen, then He won’t speak.
So, I beg you. Get in the habits of learning the Word, listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and above all obedience. There is a dying world looking for life that can only be found in Jesus, the Messiah. And if our lazy, disobedient selves are the only Jesus that people see, then the world around us, those within our sphere of influence, will be lost.
Blessings on your day… and your journey!