Giving In

Sometimes you have to rely on your foundation. What I’m posting today is something I wrote a long time ago, that I’m reconvicted of this morning.

Reverence and respect are hard words for me. They are hard words because for the majority of my life, I feel that I only knew bits and pieces of what those words meant. But those words, those actions, are essential to a life a freedom.

I’m not going to define what reverence is not. I think we all know what reverence is not. Instead, I’m  going to dive right in and ask the questions “why do we not respect? What hinders us from having reverence when we should?” And the answer, my dear friends, is control. We all have this deep set in desire to control things. And if we think that we should be in control or we need to be in control, we will never, ever understand what reverence is, or the freedom respect brings.

Romans 8:5-11, for me, lays out for  the answer to our problems in our relationships, in our work, in our relationship with God.  To really get it, I needed to read it in three different translations.

ESV:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

New Living Translation Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

The Message Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

A mind controlled by desires brings death, but mind controlled by Spirit breathes life. Did you hear that?  A mind controlled by desires brings death, but mind controlled by Spirit breathes life. All of us want a mind controlled by the Spirit. Few of us have minds controlled by the spirit. But the word calls out to us to have ALL of our minds controlled by the spirit. Why? Look right there in the ESV in verse 6. Because ” letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

This is hard for me to say to you. I am a bit prideful on this. I say I trust, but that verse makes me question. Letting the Spirit control you leads to life and peace. Which means, if I am not experiencing life or peace, the Spirit of the Lord is not controlling me.

I gotta go even deeper with this thought. It’s not just that I want to be in control, or influence a decision, or have my voice heard, and I hold too tightly to that. There has to be a reason that I don’t give over control. And it’s because I don’t trust. In general, I would say that most believers don’t fully trust eachother, which may be rightly so, but we don’t trust God. We don’t trust God to really deliver life and peace. We have doubt about whether it’s possible.

This may seem like I’m condemning myself and others. I’m not. I’m in this.  I am exhorting myself as I say this. This is a convicting lesson. This is reminding myself that once again, I have to walk forward in faith…in life.

I welcome those who are at a crossroads with me this morning. I welcome those who God is giving an option: life or death? Which way are you going to go? And this week, for me and for many people I love, it means choosing to give up control. It means that I believe in my strength as a woman, and that I give that strength to His discretion. That I choose to push back the lies again.

I have to see Satan’s hand in my life. I HAVE to start seeing his lie, manipulations, and deceptions. I HAVE to  see what He’s doing and how He’s influencing us. Because he’d he’s trying to steal, kill, and destroy.

Because the choice not to do this, is not a viable option. 

My worship song might not make sense to some today, but this is what is helping me lean on Him today.

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