Prepare to Listen. In anticipation of the resurrection, be still and pray: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Prayerfully Read Romans 8:6-11
6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Paul has a nasty habit of condensing dense theology into a few words! People have written books trying to unpack these six verses and thus there’s no way I can unpack them in this brief devotion. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on one word: life. It’s an important word for God’s people. Long ago Moses urged the children of Israel, ‘Choose life so that you … may live’ (Deut 30:19). Years later Jesus said he came so that we ‘may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). The life he promised is fruitful (life in all its fullness). This is in contrast to death, which is barren, empty. Paul understood this and longed for the Church in Rome to experience this fullness of life. They could because, as he told them, ‘you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.’ This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and therefore has power and authority to give life to all in whom the Spirit dwells. If we are in Christ (followers of Jesus) we have this Spirit and we can live life fully. The question is: Are you living fully, despite the enforced limitations on our living today? This doesn’t mean living without suffering and pain. It means finding ways to live fully despite the suffering, letting God use our pain to be our teacher leading us into a fuller and more meaningful life through the Spirit.
What word or phrase caught your attention in Paul’s very dense paragraph? Reflect on what it says to you about your present situation in this universal crisis and let it teach you.
Respond to Jesus
Lord you have given me your Spirit so that I may live life fully. Help me choose life; help me give space to others to choose life so that we all may truly live regardless of what happens today, learning from our present painful circumstance. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Choose life that you may live.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.