On the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser,” the biggest loser is the winner! Sounds strange, doesn’t it? It reminds me of how the younger generation uses the word “bad” to mean “good,” or “hot” to mean “cool,” that is when “cool” means how “good” something is.
Apparently, we don’t always know what words are intended to mean unless the person using them explains it to us. That is certainly the case in Romans Chapter 8. Paul clearly stated that the biggest loser is the person who lives according to the flesh.1 If Paul had been living in our day, he might have pasted a big L across his forehead with his thumb and forefinger as he uttered the word “loser,” signifying that person is definitely not a winner.
According to Romans Chapter 8, I have two choices as to who runs my life: 1) the Holy Spirit, or 2) my loser flesh.
Jesus put it like this: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”2 I take that to mean if I choose option #1, I get life; if I choose option #2, I get nothing.
When am I going to get it—that my flesh is a Loser with a capital L? Why would I knowingly let a Loser run my life? Why would I let a Loser determine what I think? Or let a Loser control what I say? Why would I ever choose that? I wouldn’t.
Could it be that I have been conned into seeing my flesh in a better light? To believe that the desires of my flesh are actually OK? Have I been lured into thinking that my fleshy ways and ideas are not all bad? That they are just how God made me—part of my personality?
I wonder if the enemy of my soul has launched a brilliant scheme of which I am not apprised. After all, he is the master deceiver.
Paul told the Galatians, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap corruption.”3 There it is again—clearly not life. The enemy scoffs: “Loser! Loser! Loser! Triple Loser!”
I try to ignore his taunting—that I am helplessly enslaved to this flesh. I don’t want to be. And yet, I catch a glimpse of a different scenario in which I don’t have to be a Loser—I don’t have to settle there. Jesus and Paul said so.
“Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from of the Spirit will reap life everlasting.”4 I listen closely and hear the Spirit offering: “Life! Life! Life! Triple Life!”
How can I tap into that Triple Life—Abundant Life! How can I stop allowing my condemned flesh to rule and start letting the Life-giving Holy Spirit rule?
Great questions! How many training classes have born-again believers had on how to walk in the Spirit? Two, one, or maybe none! How many teachers courageously teach what it means to live in the Spirit? To be filled with the Spirit? Admit to knowing the third person of the Trinity and having a relationship with Him? Or confess to understanding the inner dealings, workings, and functions of the Holy Spirit? Who ever steps up and says like Paul, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ?” 5
The most natural thing in a person’s life after being born-again is to learn how to walk in the Spirit. Growing babies must learn to walk. Yet, many of us totter along through this Christian life, never learning to walk like Jesus walked.
Perhaps we have misunderstood, misinterpreted, or even underestimated this amazing promise of Jesus: His Spirit living in us—through us—as us. Life! Life! Life!
I have tried a thousand times to transform my flesh by the power of the flesh. It hasn’t worked. I thank God that it hasn’t. I must grasp this one powerful life-changing truth as it has the ability to set me free from my works—striving to please God in my depraved, condemned flesh that can never please Him!
The glimpse broadens and I can see more. Even with disciplined and improved flesh, I am no better off. My only solution is the Holy Spirit living in me—through me—as me. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”6 No mental ascent to this mysterious arrangement will suffice.
My Holy House Guest tries to arouse me from slumber, from the things I must unlearn, and from this futile state of reigning flesh—particularly in spiritual things. He desires the best for me, and longs to show me how to let Him come alive in me. He yearns to know me; He yearns for me to know Him.
Feeling lifeless? The Holy House Guest is our answer. ~ Janie Kellogg
1Romans 8: 1-8; 2John 6:63; 3Galatians 6:8a; 4Galatians 6:8b; 51 Corinthians 11:1 (NLT); 6Galatians 2:20.
Other Related posts in Treasure in Earthen Vessels: The House Guest, November 22, 2012
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