Who controls you? The world says you’re free to be your own boss. Our culture tells you it’s your life, your body, your time, your resources; that you have the right to make all the choices, the freedom to do what you want.
But that’s a lie. Self-control is merely an illusion.
The Bible says we will either be controlled by sin or righteousness. There’s no neutral territory. We can’t be a spiritual Switzerland.
In today’s New Start 15 reading, Romans 8:1-17, the apostle Paul explains that every person is controlled either by her “sinful nature” or by the “Spirit of God.” There is no other option. In Romans 6, Paul uses the terms “slaves to sin” and “slaves to righteousness” to describe the same truth.
We will either be controlled by the desires of our fallen, sinful nature or we will be controlled by the Holy Spirit. The direction of the first leads to death. The direction of the second leads to “life and peace.”
No, we don’t have any control over our lives. But we do have control over who gets control.
No, we can’t be our own master, but we can choose who is. We can give ourselves as slaves to sin or as slaves to righteousness.
Want to live as a slave to righteousness?
Crucify your sinful nature, break free from the sin master, by surrendering your life to the One who was crucified for you.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
The true life of a believer is found when we allow Jesus to live His life through us.
And Jesus doesn’t want His way to be hard to find or confusing. In fact, when we enter into a saving relationship with Jesus, He gives us His Spirit to guide, transform, and empower us. We simply must give Him control.
Follow the Leader
Today’s New Start 15 Bible passage, Galatians 5:13-26, describes a life controlled by the Holy Spirit as “keeping in step” with Him. It’s like the childhood game “Follow the Leader.” If the Spirit moves to the right, so do we. If the Spirit stops and waits, we do too.
On a general level, the Spirit will guide us away from sin and into holiness. He will strengthen us to resist temptation and obey God’s moral commands.
But the Spirit’s leading is also very personal. The exact combination of experiences, relationships, challenges, needs, and temptations in your life is unique. You need wisdom and guidance for that unique mix. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Let Him do it. Give Him control.
Joy in the Spirit’s Control
And what joy there is in following God’s Spirit. Romans 8:14-16 eloquently describes the sweet relationship with the Father that results from following His Spirit:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
The Spirit will lead you in ways for your good and God’s glory. Don’t fight Him. Don’t try to take control. You can’t have it anyway.
Considering the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, how important is it that we “keep in step” or obey Him? What are some ways we can foster quick and complete obedience?
This post is part of the New Start 15 emphasis on holiness. Want to learn more? Here are a few things to help you join in!
- Original Invitation to New Start 15
- Bible reading plan
- New Start 15 Facebook group
- Daily Blog Schedule
- List of Suggested Resources