Paul had just stated in Romans 8:3 that the law was weak due to our flesh, and could not modify our hearts. But when Jesus died in the flesh He provided the power to change our hearts. He continues: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).
Paul is not talking about our salvation here. That is already accomplished “in us” (believers) when we come to Christ. He is here talking about the righteousness God intended for us when He gave the law through the Prophets way back then. The Mosaic Law described the measure of self-discipline God demands of His people. But, remember, the Law had no real power over our lives…we are helpless in these weak flesh bodies with their constant earthly appetites. These laws could not make us more like God.
That phrase that probably did not belong at the end of verse 1 where Paul was speaking of salvation, does belong here: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit“. The topic has changed from salvation to living out the righteous desires of God for us. The Law had no power, but the inner presence of the Holy Spirit does.
And we all have a choice of walking after the flesh and its desires, or walking after the Spirit of God and His desires. And the results of the choice you make will affect your future. I once was walking after the flesh and it brought about painful results. But now that I seek to walk after His Spirit, He guides my steps and calms my fears. What is your choice?
Tags: choices, flesh, Holy Spirit
The news channel reported that a professional baseball player had been suspended from the team when the coach learned that he was addicted to cocaine. The player told reporters that his drug abuse wasn’t his fault; he had the disease of chemical dependency.
Some people may indeed have a genetic predisposition to addiction, but we aren’t facing our problem if we won’t accept responsibility for the choices we’ve made. It’s easier to say, “I’m sick,” than it is to say, “I’m wrong.”
What are your thoughts on the player’s comments?
Tags: addiction, choices, responsibility, sin
A couple of years ago I married a young couple who were expecting a baby. They were both pretty young and naive. When we began planning for the wedding ceremony, I asked about the bride’s parents and was informed they would not be attending the wedding, although they only lived less than ten miles away. It seems that when her father found out she was expecting a baby, he kicked her out of the house and told her never to return.
So, here was a teenage girl who was thrust by her parents into the arms of the guy they did not want her to marry. Doesn’t make sense, does it? I wonder if that caused a little stress between her mother and father, or if they were in agreement. I wonder if they would change their minds later after their grandchild was born. I wonder if the daughter would give her parents the time of day when (and if) they tried to make amends. I wonder if the grandchild would be any wiser than the grandfather. I wonder…
I understand that the father was embarrassed by the teenager’s poor choices, but what the daughter needed at that time was someone who could guide her to Christ in her trouble, not someone who was driving her away.
How would you advise this young lady who had been disowned by her father?
Tags: choices, marriage, rejection
Presidential candidates spend months in the limelight striving for attention and support. Presidential candidate wives typically just follow along. But once a candidate gets elected, his shadow becomes “First Lady”. She is then sought after for interviews. And, historically, First Ladies tend to be very wise women indeed.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, once made this searching statement: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
Wise King Solomon said it like this: “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver” (Proverbs 16: 16).
Do you agree with Eleanor? Do you believe it is fair to judge a person’s philosophy of life on the choices he or she makes?
Tags: choices, decision, Roosevelt
I went to the county jail yesterday to visit a young lady incarcerated for selling drugs to an undercover officer. I expected to deal with a con artist, someone who knew how to fool everyone else because she herself was fooled. But I was surprised at her openness in admitting that she made bad choices and now had to make it right.
I asked her how she thought God felt about her right now. In shame she said that He was probably mad at her right now. That gave me an opportunity to talk about how God loves her unconditionally and that she was beating up on herself because she was using her own failure as the standard of forgiveness, rather than what Jesus did for her on the cross. We prayed a prayer of rededication and I expect God to begin revealing Himself to her daily.
But, most of all, the experience taught me a valuable lesson on thanksgiving. As I talked to her my mind went back to some of my own stupid and irresponsible choices I made years ago. But for the grace of God, I would be the one sitting there in that cold jail cell. I left the jail with a deeper appreciation of the Lord’s grace in my life. That’s what I’m thankful for!
Tags: choices, grace, jail, thankful