Friday, June 1, 2012Scripture Reading—Romans 8:9-11
In Romans 7, Paul described the spiritual life for him as a struggle between flesh and spirit. On the surface, his description of that struggle may lead us to believe that it is the physical body itself that is the source of our struggle, and that if we could simply transcend its needs and the desires that arise from those needs, we would finally be free. Some of Paul’s contemporaries certainly saw the quest for salvation in those terms. But we know that this is too simplistic a description of Paul’s view of the flesh, for he affirmed the body’s goodness in his teaching on the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 15). To set the mind on the flesh is to yield to the greatest temptation, to live our lives only for ourselves with no thought of others, and to live our lives as if the meaning of our lives is only defined in terms of securing our own pleasure in this world. That is the kind of life that ends in death. It is the kind of life that death has already begun to claim. The way out of this predicament is not by trying harder to make ourselves better people. That only makes things worse. The way out is to allow the Spirit of Christ to enable us to see our lives in relation to God. We are more than flesh and blood. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us and in our world. That is what makes our victory over sin and evil possible!
Thought for the day: When we humbly recognize our weakness and seek God’s help, the Spirit of the risen Christ that dwells within us delivers us from the prison of our self-centeredness!
Prayer: O God, when I become aware of the many ways, big and small, that the focus of my life often curves in on myself, help me to realize that my victory lies not in my own power, but in my reliance on the power of your Spirit that dwells within me. Amen.