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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, July 13, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Romans 8:1–11

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 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. 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. (NRSV)

This is an amazing teaching: that the Spirit of God dwells in us. If we could realize this fully we would move through our days trusting in God’s power and grace. After all, God’s Spirit is right here, right now. The Spirit of Holiness, dwelling in us, is sacred. It is worthy of love and respect. This means that we are worthy of love and respect, too. To live according to the Spirit is to live aware of this worthiness and to act accordingly, with love and respect. This includes respecting bodily needs and honoring bodily pleasures. We can live embodied lives that are permeated with love and respect, honor, beauty, and joy. The Spirit of God within us deserves and desires this kind of life for us.

Paul teaches that to live according to the flesh is to focus on death and to be hostile to God (8:6–7). But to live according to the Spirit, even in our very bodies, is to live in such a way that focuses on abundant life, that honors God in our very bodies. Christianity is an incarnational faith, based on a belief that God entered human flesh in Jesus Christ. When we realize the experience of Christ within us, we also realize God making our human bodies holy.

Life is not usually as dualistic as Paul describes it when he is trying to make a point. How we focus our minds and shape our lives is a continual process of deciding again and again to shift our focus. May we remember that God dwells within us, and may we treat our bodies as the holy temples they are.

God of all creation, I thank you for your Spirit that dwells in me. As I breathe, help me to know that you breathe through me, that your Spirit lives in my body. Let me be a sanctuary for you. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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