Tag Archives: Spirit Led

Flesh to Spirit

Living in the Spirit
July 15, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-11

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since 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, though 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 from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. –Romans 8:9-11

Congressman John Lewis in his Note to Self* for CBS News, said to his younger self following a violent police response to a peaceful sit-in: “You got arrested the first time, and you felt so free. You felt liberated. You felt like you had crossed over,” he added. While he was still physically alive, he made the move from the flesh to the Spirit. Most of us dwell on the cusp of the Spirit, having never faced such a decisive threat to freedom, even life itself. Jesus Christ calls each of us to cross-over to the Spirit-driven life as we work for the actualization of the Kingdom of God.

While it may seem a paradox, it is harder at times for those of us who live in relative privilege and safety to answer Christ’s call to give up the flesh and become Spirit-led. What was it Jesus said in Matthew 19:24? Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’  We are cutting ourselves short. We too can know the liberating facet of God’s love when we see past our privilege and open our hearts to love all our neighbors. When we have a world where everyone has enough and is enabled to become fully the persons God created them to be, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Prayer:
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me**. Amen.

*http://www.cbsnews.com/news/note-to-self-congressman-john-lewis-civil-rights-leader/

**Spirit of the Living God by Michael Hawn see at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-spirit-of-the-living-god

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Life in the Spirit

Lent
March 30, 2017

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:6-11

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. –Romans 8:6-11

The Greek word for flesh used here is sarx* and means merely of human origin or empowerment*.

4561 /sárks (“flesh”) is not always evil in Scripture. Indeed, it is used positively in relation to sexual intercourse in marriage (Eph 5:31) – as well as for the sinless human body of Jesus (Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 4:2,3). Indeed, flesh (what is physical) is necessary for the body to live out the faith the Lord works in (Gal 2:20)*

Flesh is a technical word in Paul’s writings, referring not primarily to physical acts (i.e., sex or eating) but to the fallen nature of Adam, thus humanity apart from grace. The old written code refers to observance of Torah divorced from the intentions and Spirit of God.**

We let ourselves off too easily when we limit Paul’s discussions of flesh to misuse of sex or overeating or things like these. Humans tend to gravitate toward the world of “what’s in it for me”. If obeying a series of laws gets us a better seat at the table, then we are in the game. The Hebrew Bible calls us to obey a series of laws out of our desire to demonstrate our love of God and God’s desire for us to live in community with God and all his children. His rules provide guidance for such a way of being.

God continued this quest by sending Jesus Christ into the world not only to model the life God envisioned but ultimately to enable us through grace to become whole and partners in building the Kingdom God desires. Why is it so hard for humans to grasp the truth that what is good for me is good for you and what is good for you is good for me. God is glorified when we can accept and live God’s truth.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we rely on our human nature more than we rely on you. Makes us whole, make us one. Amen.

*http://biblehub.com/greek/4561.htm

**The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, Abington Press 2003, page 2019

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Spirit

spirit-ledEpiphany
January 8, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

And so, it begins. We do not know much about Jesus’ life before the moment of his baptism. We know he was a serious student of the scriptures via the report of his trip to the temple. His dad was a carpenter making it most likely that he apprenticed to be one also. He was born in a turbulent time in Galilean history with Jewish rebels taking on Roman oppression and being devastatedly defeated. It seems John the Baptist was more than cousin for Jesus, but also a fellow enthusiast, perhaps even zealot for a faith based on justice, in concern for others rather than ritual appropriateness.

None of us step out in faith into a world uncluttered by culture and history. While we long to start with a clean slate, it never happens. We must deal with wholeness while working for justice and justice while moving toward wholeness. Our preconceived ideas must be tested against God’s reality, determining if they pass the test of love. The harder part, is allowing God to create in us clean hearts when we discover that some of our central ideas or ideals are misguided or just wrong.

We can be thankful that the Spirit that introduced us to Jesus is with us still and willing to work with us throughout our faith journey.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your ministry on earth and your abiding presence each and every day. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.