However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.
—Romans 8:9–11 AMP
I’m glad we are still in Romans 8; I love this chapter so much. The changes in my heart have been won from the inside out. The most accelerated changes have come from the realization of the power of what Paul is saying in this chapter. Today’s verse is a conditional promise—an “if, then” statement so often found in Scripture. Simply put: if the Spirit is in you (that same Spirit who formed the world and raised Jesus from the dead), everything else in you is brought back to life.
In writing to the Roman church, Paul shows us how to live with this very-present power. It is a new center. Our flesh is no longer on top. What the Spirit wants is what we should strive to get. Our flesh is strong though. Those long-held beliefs and behaviors that lead us to try and get what we want don’t die easily. Thankfully, our futures have changed completely and irrevocably. Much of the fun of a Spirit-filled life is found in the process of that ongoing revelation.
When our middle daughter, Sophia, finished her treatment for cancer in July 2011 at age five, I wondered what the future held. It wasn’t going to be about going to the hospital every week. There was now an adjustment to be made, as we figured out how to deal with life after the war against cancer. Our visits to the hospital and the panic attacks I developed early on in that process did not immediately go away once we were home. I feared I would have them for the rest of my life. They did taper off but would pop up unexpectedly. I was being forced to relearn who I was, and it was hell.
I know now those months were the beginning of something amazing, our new normal. Our lives had to find a new center after being turned upside down. And we did. We gained purpose and empathy. The Holy Spirit’s presence enhanced that work in us. I look back now and see the hidden moments of joy in all that pain. I hoped for that in those months of treatment but couldn’t picture it. Those months after her treatment continued to reveal how much God was (and still is) with us.
Life with the Holy Spirit is like emerging from a war. You have to put in the effort of knowing who He is and who you are with Him as the center of your life. He is the new normal, not your own thoughts and desires. It is a process to understand what He is doing in your life. We are no longer tied to death but to life. When Sophia was in treatment, her life was tied to doing all we could to make sure she survived. When it was over and she was healed, we had to learn how to make sure we did all we could to teach her how to thrive in this life.
If you have engaged with the Holy Spirit through this time, that’s where you are—alive and no longer fighting for survival. You are learning how to thrive. The life Jesus came to give is there if the Spirit is in you. Your job today is to participate in the process and learn. Your job is to choose that new normal.
Come, Holy Spirit, and teach me more about my new way of being in and with You. Show me life where I see death. Let me feel Your presence with me today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What do you see in you or another’s life as needing the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit?
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