Led by the Spirit (Part 1)

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” – Romans 8:14*

holy spirit word dovePaul states three things about the spiritual life in Romans 8. First, only people who live “according to the Spirit” (8:1, 4-5) are “in Christ Jesus” (8:1). Those who don’t “have the Spirit of Christ” don’t belong to him (8:10). Second, only people led by the Spirit are free from condemnation, the “law of sin and death” (8:1-2). Being spiritually minded is “life and peace” (8:6). However, all those who “live according to the flesh … will die” eternally (8:13) because “to be carnally minded is death” (8:6). Finally, only people who live according to the Spirit are children and heirs of God (8:14-17). Since only heirs will enter heaven, we must be led by the Spirit.

Being led by the Spirit and living according to the Spirit are vital to the Christian life. We must be spiritually minded. It is the literal difference between heaven and hell. But I didn’t understand what these phrases meant until I considered the alternative: being led by or living according to the flesh. To be carnally minded is to be governed by the human body, its appetites and senses. Each person has two God-given appetites, which are necessary for survival: eating and drinking (sustenance) and sex (procreation). I will discuss the senses in part 2.

Food and drink

Illegal-DrugsPeople addicted to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco are governed by their mouths. So are those with eating disorders and those who decadently indulge themselves. Anyone who lives to eat and drink is led by this appetite and is carnally minded. So are people who add normal food and drink to God’s kingdom, either decrees or prohibitions (Romans 14:17, 1 Timothy 4:3-5).

Unlike such people, believers led by the Spirit have self-control (Galatians 5:22). They also have godly discernment about what they should and should not put into their bodies. Moderation isn’t possible for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Unnecessary to survival, these addictive poisons can kill a person. Besides, anyone hooked is a slave. However, moderation is both possible and necessary for normal food and drink. We shouldn’t be gluttons who brag about what and where we eat. Nor should we be ascetics who deny ourselves sustenance. Fasting is easy for people led by the Spirit, but they don’t make it a lifestyle – just a powerful method of prayer.

God gave us the ability and desire as human beings to eat and drink. The purpose of this good gift is to grow, both physically and mentally, into adulthood. Only then can we be responsible family members, friends, citizens, and workers – both in this world and in God’s kingdom. Let’s not turn his good gift into a carnal appetite that leads us to eternal death and hell.

Sex

2014 grammys gay marriageAdultery, bestiality, fornication, homosexuality, incest, masturbation, pedophilia, polygamy, pornography, and rape are all the fruit of people governed by sex. The spiritual normality or abnormality of such fruit is irrelevant. Anyone who lives for sex is led by this appetite and is carnally minded. So are people who forbid marriage and procreation, either wholly or just in the church (1 Timothy 4:3). Sex isn’t inherently evil.

Again, believers led by the Spirit have self-control (Galatians 5:22). They also obey God’s good law on the proper use of their bodies, which are “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Living according to the Spirit, such believers “flee sexual immorality” and “glorify God” in their bodies (6:18, 20). They obey the truth that sex within marriage (between one man and woman) is good, but sinful outside it. However, they do not choose celibacy over marriage.

God has given us a wonderful gift in sex. Its purposes are sustaining a marriage and creating a family who loves and obeys God, since he wants “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). We must not abuse this good gift by feeding a carnal appetite that leads us to eternal death and hell.

Conclusion

A life of gluttony is dangerous. So is asceticism, which may appear Christian but has roots in Eastern religion. God created us to need food and drink for sustenance, and sex for procreation. Desiring these things is natural and human. Our sinful natures and Satan’s temptations distort our desires by making us try to please ourselves. Through conversion, the Holy Spirit redirects our desires so that we please God. People who say and do otherwise are carnally minded; they’re leading people astray. Read my article “Fleeing Desire, Work, and Self: Denying Humanity.”

Let us examine ourselves to see if we’re in the faith, truly children of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5). Regarding these appetites, are we led by the Spirit or by the flesh? Do we have a spiritual mind or a carnal one? If we chose the latter option for either question, then hell is our eternal destiny. We must repent, believe, and obey. “Now is the day of salvation” (6:2).

__________

* All Scripture verses are NKJV, unless otherwise noted.

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2 thoughts on “Led by the Spirit (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: OF INTEREST: Independent Thoughts from around the Internet July 16, 2014 | End Times Prophecy Report

  2. Reblogged this on thinklikegodthinks and commented:
    It is obvious that the Church has failed to appreciate the enormity of John3:3-6. And so numerous Christians live carnally because we do not have a revelation of the discussion between The Lord and Nicodemus. Matthew 22:29
    Also, in general we have failed to appropriate the awesomeness of what happened to a Christian at the point of salvation – POS.
    1. The manifestation of the Spirit ushered us into a Life in the Spirit but the experience was bottled up because the ministers and leaders too failed to live upon this foundation. Acts 2
    2. Our life as Christians onwards needed to be lived in accordance to John 3:5. In other words, our operational philosophy should emanate from the Kingdom of God and not from the world system. That is, we are supposed to be under the full control of the Holy Spirit ….Eph 5:18. Every time a believer is not under the full control of the Spirit he/she defaults to the mindset and lifestyle of their unbelieving self. So they make decisions in the flesh, controlled by the flesh and when they get a flesh driven result, they cry foul, why God? 1Corinthians 2:14
    3. The ultimate reason for the Godhead sending the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer, therefore, is to migrate us from the world to the Kingdom. In Luke 5:1-5, notice how the Apostles migrated by leaving their well paid professional job. The goal is to develop the believer into a man/woman of the spirit. Such a one is constantly full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith and full of integrity. Acts6:3-5, Acts 11:22-24, Acts13:1-3
    4. To attain this level, requires a paradigm shift in our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. Life in the spirit is the sum of = walk in the spirit + work in the spirit + think in the spirit + live in the spirit. This can only be attained when there is a daily pre-occupation with one’s purpose for life.
    5 Lastly, a believer who desires such a life has to stimulate spiritual growth by establishing a spiritual presence, constantly refreshing his/her human spirit every 1hour or as convenient in the beginning. This refresh takes the form of chatting with Holy Spirit, expressing love to the Godhead, discussing issues for solutions, engaging in a Q&A on matters, deferring decision and choices until He has spoken or instructed, eulogising through worship and thanksgiving. This is the price to pay to become a man/woman of the spirit.

    From then onward, the Holy Spirit takes full control and life in the spirit has just begun!

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