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Romans 8:13


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

A few things have been laying on my heart the past couple of days...

 

One is awe at the tiny, little things I see You doing in my life. Needs being met in small ways, that eventually accumulate into larger ways. I can't help but think "I wish I could do this big thing or that big thing that needs to be done", and You continue to do little things, as if to say, "look over here at what I have done for you." So, I wanted to take a moment to say thank You for these little aids of help in much needed areas. I feel bad wanting to dismiss these little areas because my focus is on the bigger needs which is why I'm even bringing it up in this prayer. I'm grateful for these little blessings You are doing in my life. There's a sweetness in its smallness that causes me to say, "awwwwwwwwwww".

 

The other thing that has been laying on my heart is concern about struggling with having consistant faith and trust in You as this battle increases in all our lives. So many times I know that I have said, "when push comes to shove, nothing will waver me from my trust in the Lord...I will never turn from my belief and faith in Christ...I will stand till the end".

 

It breaks my heart though, to see myself struggling with the issues I face now, and it c given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think oauses me to wonder if I'm struggling with these things right now, how much more will I struggle in the days to come and that scares me. I have learned that I am so NOT all that...that I'm not always all I think I am...that when I least expected it, I fell apart which is not my normal style, but I learned Father God. I learned that *I* am not as strong as I always like to think I am, but You are...and it is IN Christ that I will make it through the days ahead. So Father, I'm asking this morning for a few things. In Your Word, Your apostles said to Christ, "Increase our faith!", and in Romans Paul wrote, "For by the grace [unmerited favor or God] given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him."

 

Increase my faith Father God, that my life might be a testimony to Your love, Your grace, Your mercy, Your power, Your faithfulness, Your pure salvation alone. My heart desires You and Your ways, but it is only You who will keep me, and us, from stumbling, slipping or falling.

 

My dependence on You grows each day which in turn increases my trust. Help Your people Father, prepare us and protect us in the days ahead.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

13. For if Ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die: but if, by the Spirit, ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall live.

 

Watchman Nee comments on a few words in this verse:

 

"die": "In this verse, to die, to put to death, and to live are spiritual matters, not physical.

 

"put to death": "We must put to death the practices of the body, but we must do it by the Spirit. On one hand, we must take the initiative to put to death the practices of the body; the Spirit does not do it for us. On the other hand, we should not attempt to deal with our body by relying on our own effort without the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

The putting to death here is actually our coordinating with the Spirit who indwells us. Inwardly, we must allow Him to make His home in us that He may give life to our motal body (v. 11). Outwardly, we must put to death the practices of our body that we may live. When we take the initiative to put to death the practices of our body, the Spirit comes in to apply the effectiveness of Christ's death to those practices, thus killing them."

 

"doings of the body/practices of the body": "It is not the body itself but its practices (doings) that we must put to death. The body needs to be redeemed (v. 23), but its practices need to be put to death. These practices include not only sinful things but also all things practiced by our body apart from the Spirit."

 

The rvbv writes, "For if ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die - Here is a terrible warning: 1. It is one of the great red lights by which God keeps His elect out of fatal paths. (Compare 1 Cor. 15:2, Col. 1:23.) 2. It shows how those who have received a knowledge of the truth and are addressed by the apostle as among god's people, may yet be choosing a flesh-walk - which involves the refusal of the Spirit - refusal to be led by Him, as are all God's real sons (verse 14). 3. Death here, is of course eternal death, as in Chapter Six: "The end of these things is death"; and here in Chapter Eight: "The mind of the flesh is death." 4. Note that expression "about to die" (mellete). Those following a flesh-walk are not yet viewed as dead, so let them hear and repent quickly, lest they become as those professing Christians became in Jude 12: "Autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots," - summer ended, a fruitless autumn, and Divine cursing. For "twice dead" means that there was an awakening, a quickening, and a tasting, as in Hebrews Six; tasting of the heavenly gift - eternal life; then, final apostasy, and withdrawal of all gracious influences; the very roots, as in the barren fig tree, plucked up and withered. Born again? No. Yet "escaping the defilements of the world," only to choose to go back to a "twice-dead" condition. Surely the mind of the flesh is death!

 

But, if by the Spirit, ye put to death the doings of the body, ye shall live - Here is a most definite word that the body is under the control of sin; and a most definite statement as to the manner of a holy life.

 

1. The deeds, or doings of the body are naturally selfish and so, evil, for the body is not redeemed. (See same word "deed" in Luke 23:51). The body would have its every desire gratified - because it so desires. It has no governor in itself but the sin by which it is still dead - to God and all holiness. Even the lawful needs and desires of the body become sinful and deathful if the body is allowed to rule. In Chapter 6:12 we hear: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body that ye should obey the desires of it" (the body). The beasts and birds follow the instincts and desires of their bodies, being without spirit, conscience or sin. But man cannot do so. For he has, - yea, he is, essentially a spirit, - though he dwells in a bodily tabernacle, and has a conscience, under the eye of which all his consents or refusals pass, and that constantly. And to let his unredeemed body govern him, is to fall far below the very beasts: for he lets sin reign in his mortal body, when he lets the lusts of the body control his decisions.

 

2. Now God says the "doings" of the body are to be put to death. Not that our bodies are not dear to God. They are, - and if we are Christ's our bodies are members of Christ (I Cor. 6:15). But they are not redeemed as yet. And God has left us in these unredeemed bodies, that we may learn - 1. the badness of our old self-life, as we see that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing; 2. the exceeding sinfulness of sin, - and learn to hate and abhor it; 3. the sweet and blessed path of relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit, - nay, even of using His Almighty and willing power of acts of simple faith; for it reads, "If WE, by the Spirit, put to death the doings of the body."

 

For we must note most carefully that a holy life is to be lived by us. It is not that we have any power, - we have none. But God's Spirit dwells in us for the express object of being called "upon by us to put to death the doings of the body." Self-control is one of that sweet cluster called "the fruit of the Spirit," in Galatians 5:22.

 

How confidently Paul walked in this power of the Spirit! "In the Holy Spirit," he says, in II Corinthians 6:6, - "in pureness," etc. And again, "I will not be brought under the power of any" bodily desire, - however lawful. And again, "I buffet my body, and bring it into subjection; lest, having preached to others, I myself should be rejected" (I Cor. 6:13; 9:27).

 

A holy life without a controlled body is an absolutely contradiction; not to be dreamed of for a moment. Indeed, God goes further here, and says, "Ye shall live, - if ye by the Spirit put to death the doings of the body": the opposite path being, "If ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die!"

 

When we announce that the Scripture teaching is that walking by the Holy Spirit has taken the place of walking under the rule of the Mosaic law, there remains to be examined, and that most carefully, just what walking by the Spirit means.

 

1. It does not mean to desert the use of our faculties of moral perception or of moral judgment.

 

Although there doubtless are occasions in which the believer, being filled with the Spirit, acts in a wholly unanticipated way; and although there may be times when he will be carried quite out of himself in ecstasies of joy or love; and although the believer walking by the Spirit will normally be conscious of the almighty power within, of triumph over the world and the flesh: nevertheless the feet of the believer will never be swept from the path of conscious moral determination. He will always know that so far as decisions of moral matters are concerned, he has still the sense of moral accountability, or perhaps better, responsibility. The believer's own conscience will protest against any such letting go of himself as has been unfortunately found throughout church history when people have submitted themselves to such ecstatic states that moral judgment and self-control were cast to the winds.

 

We do indeed read of most remarkable experiences, and that in deeply approved saints, in which their spirits were over-whelmed by the vision of Divine things, and we must adduce that in such experiences they were rapt and ecstatic; but never to the losing of that self-control which, we read in Galatians 5:22, is a fruit of the Spirit. Even in the exercise of the gifts spoken of by the apostle in I Corinthians 12 to 14, it is definitely declared, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."

 

It is in the abandonment of the sense of moral responsibility into unscriptural surrender of the mental and spiritual faculties, - into other control than self-control directed by the Holy Spirit, that such awful extravagances have occurred in Church history.

 

2. To be led by the Spirit does indeed involve the surrender of our wills to God. Bug God, on His side, does not crush into fatalistic abandon those very faculties with which He has endowed men. On the contrary, the surrendered saint immediately finds His faculties marvelously quickened, - his faculties both of mind and of sensibility. All the powers of his soul-life (which include his intellect, tastes, feelings, emotions, and recollective memory) are renewed. His will being yielded to God, God now "works in Him to will" as well as "to do of His good pleasure," - in which the surrendered saint rejoices.

 

But while it is indeed God who works in us even to will, yet it is true that walking in the Spirit is still our own choice: "If ye by the Spirit put to death the doigns of the body" - we read. The Holy Spirit is infinitely ready, but God leads rather than compels.

 

There is deep mystery, no doubt, in the great double fact of God is working in us to will, and on the other hand, of our choosing His will, moment by moment. We can only affirm that both are taught in Scripture, and we ourselves know both to be blessedly true."

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

May all that is laid out in today's study be planted and birthed in our hearts and minds so that we might continue to grow and honor You in all ways.

 

Bless the people that read todays study, may their eyes look upward and know that Your eye is upon them and Your heart is filled with love for them.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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