So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
— Romans 8:6
Recently I was listening to a podcast by Dr. Tony Evans titled Blessed are the Spiritual Mourners. He pointed out that we mourn the loss of loved ones, but that it ought to be just as natural to mourn the sin that infects our lives and hurts God’s heart. This made me ponder: Do we as believers truly mourn the sin in our lives? Do we truly believe that sin is an enemy and that those who are in Christ are no longer under its power?
The unbeliever is under the authority of sin and therefore can not resist the power of sin. The power of sin over the believer is broken in Christ and the believer is now under the authority of God, but the flesh is still present in the believer. Sin continues to appeal to the flesh to get the believer to commit sinful acts. There is conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. The Spirit empowers the believer not to give into sin and instead to obey God.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
As believers, we have received the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit at conversion. When we are filled with the Spirit, He controls our life and empowers us to be more like Jesus. Our job is to continuously submit to the authority of God in our life.
Paul tells us that nothing good lives in the flesh (Romans 7:18) and that the flesh weakens our attempts to obey God (Romans 8:3, 8). The flesh makes us strive to attain God’s standards of holiness by our own efforts, which is legalism. When we depend on the flesh, we become hypocrites. We feel inadequate, guilty, frustrated, condemned and disillusioned, and we try to hide. Only the Holy Spirit can deliver us from the power of the flesh. By continuously yielding to the Holy Spirit, the believer is not under the influence of the flesh but controlled by the Spirit and therefore enabled to obey God.
Do you struggle with habitual sin? The solution is not to lower the standards and become indifferent to sin. Or to try harder in your own strength. The solution is to “confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9) and to submit to the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
…wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
— 2 Corinthians 3:17