You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. – Romans 8:9-11
Have you ever seen a child, who for whatever reason, seems to rebel at authority? No matter what his parents say, he is not going to listen. He has made up his mind to do his own thing, and anyone who tries to interfere will be blasted by anger and temper tantrums. The child is going to do what he wants and no one is going to stop him.
This is what a life controlled by the sinful nature looks like to God. It’s a life that completely rejects his authority and has no appreciation for his love. It’s a life that disregards his Law and only follows its own selfish desires. As we read previously, “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7).
How different is life by the Spirit! The apostle Paul says, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:9a). If the Lord had not sent his Spirit, every one of us would be controlled by our sinful nature. We too would be hostile to God and our end would be judgment and death.
But God sent his Spirit into our hearts. How can you know if the Spirit lives in you? Simply ask yourself this question: Do I believe that Jesus is my Savior from sin? If you answered, yes, you can be sure that the Spirit is dwelling in your heart. The Bible says, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3b).
While we might not see it, feel it, or experience it with our senses, the Spirit’s presence in our hearts changes everything. It connects us with Christ and gives us a desire to live in his righteousness. It motivates us to put to death the desires of our sinful nature and follow Jesus. Not only that, but the Spirit that dwells in our hearts through faith so intimately connects us to our Savior, that when we die, our bodies will be raised to life. Praise God for this life by the Spirit!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Spirit into my heart to connect me to Jesus. Help me to live in the joy of his righteousness and to put off the desires of my sinful nature. Amen.