Sometimes we get really caught up in what we do not have in life. We feel let down because we don’t have a marriage, babies, a boyfriend, fancy accessories, and so many other things. If we are not careful, we can walk around with a sense of entitlement. We believe that God owes us and that we are doing Him a giant favor by serving Him.
Once Christ is the Lord of our life – meaning we have accepted the gift of His salvation – we are coheirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) If you read this verse, do you know what the rest of it says that is often overlooked? We love reading that we are coheirs with Christ, but the rest of the verse says, “…provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him”.
We do not just say the “sinner’s prayer” and then get to have everything our flesh desires because we serve Almighty God.
In fact, Romans 8:5-7 says that we cannot please God if we are living in the flesh and that a mind focused on the things of flesh is hostile toward God. Hostility toward God? No, surely not!
- What about when we get angry with God that the girl living down the street is about to get married and she doesn’t even love God?
- What about when we were are screaming at God because the woman who has had 2 abortions, now is married and is expecting a child?
- What about when the girl beside us at work who lies to the boss gets a huge promotion that we thought we deserved?
In those moments are we showing hostility toward God? Romans 8 says, “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
There are things that we cannot possibly do without the Holy Spirit living in us. In my flesh, it is pretty much impossible for me to forgive hurt and betrayal. We cannot love without conditions. We cannot satisfy the flesh and honor God. The two simply cannot co-exist. When we become Christians, through accepting Christ as Lord as of our life, we must also receive His Spirit. If we could live both pleasing the flesh and honoring God, we would not have a need for a Savior and we would not need the Holy Spirit. Jesus, Himself, said that it was better that He leave, so that the Holy Spirit could come.
Romans 8:15 tells us that the Holy Spirit does not make us slaves, but rather children of God. We don’t have to submit to legalism. When we are led by the Spirit, we choose freely to honor God’s commands and to try and bring Him glory, because it brings us great joy. We want to honor God; we want Him to receive all praise. We realize that what we lose cannot even begin to compare to what we gain!
Marriage, babies, and promotions can all be huge blessings. But, the absence of those things should not be seen as a curse. I am not guaranteed a godly husband and babies because I have given my life to Christ. I am guaranteed salvation and access to God, if I choose to accept His gift. I am guaranteed the love of my Heavenly Father. I am guaranteed that He will give me Life. I am not guaranteed for my plan to work as I see fit. In fact, my plan no longer matters, and it that isn’t said begrudgingly. Through the power of the Spirit, I want to honor God with every breath and every step. No matter how hard I might want to pretend that is true to my nature, it is not. It is true to Christ’s nature, which I got to take on the moment I received salvation and the Holy Spirit in my life.
This is why we know that we cannot open eyes and hearts. Nothing about submitting to Christ, honoring God, choosing the Spirit over the flesh, and giving up our lives sounds pleasing to our human nature. It sounds restricting and condemning. BUT when we get that first taste of His presence and knowing that we are acting within His will for our life, we know that NOTHING can compare. We no longer desire the things of the flesh. We see what sweetness truly tastes like. If I had never eaten sugar, I would think a grapefruit was very sweet. But, at the first dip of honey, grapefruit seems bitter. This is much like our walk with Christ. At first, we cannot imagine anything better than satisfying the flesh, but when we take our first step in obedience, choosing the Spirt over the flesh, there is no comparison.
The beauty that radiates from choosing God’s path is intoxicating and more beautiful than anything we could imagine.
Today, I want to encourage us to take one step toward obedience. Ask God what one thing we can do to honor Him. Which is sweeter to you, the flesh or the Spirit?