For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
— Romans 8:13 NIV
"Try harder!" That's the dominant message a lot of folks hear out of religion, especially as religion deals with chronic misbehavior and addictive sin. Yet nearly all of us know from experience that trying harder is only part of what we need. Oh yes, many do need more passion to live for Jesus, but simply trying harder doesn't give us any more passion and nearly always sets us up for greater failure and disappointment. The bottom line of the matter is made clear in Romans chapters 3-8: We cannot be righteous on our own efforts, no matter how hard we try! In fact, such an approach to holiness left Paul saying these words: "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" (Romans 7:24). Paul's answer is two-fold: First, God sent Jesus as the sacrifice needed for forgiveness of our sin. Second, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to live the life that God wants us to live. The Holy Spirit, when given reign in our hearts, produces fruit that reflects the character and compassion of God (Galatians 5:22-23) and transforms us to become like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Part of this transformation includes the power to move past our addictive sins and find life. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in our lives, we are changed because the Spirit has power over sin, death, and destruction.
O God, my Abba Father, thank you for the gift of grace that you gave me in Jesus. Thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit set loose in my life. I ask that you do release your Spirit's power to help me overcome the misdeeds of my body and transform me to become more and more like Jesus each day. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
About This Devotional
God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.