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The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace...
My wife Sherry and I were involved in a discussion today regarding the title of our last devotion. It seems Sherry doesn't like: "God Has No Program to Change the Flesh." She said, "Of course He does -- what do you think the Ten Commandments represent?" I answered, "The Ten Commandments only point us toward the Cross -- the Law by itself has no power to save. Besides, flesh turns to dust. God isn't concerned with our flesh; He is only concerned with our Spirit." She said, "So you think that what we do while in the flesh is of no concern to God?" I responded, "Of course not." She said, "Well, I think you had better clear some things up today or people will be really confused." I sure hope there's no confusion -- but here goes anyway. (By the way, I am very grateful to our Lord for Sherry -- she is a great blessing to me.)
1 John 1:7: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." The blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing us from all sin -- not just the past, but the present and even future sin. In my opinion, that means the old nature is corrupt and God has no plan to save it -- it continues to have the desire to go on sinning. So God gave us a new nature. The old nature is driven by fleshly desires; but the mind of the new nature is controlled by Spirit. From our passage today: "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."
Someone might ask: "If a Christian sins, then what is the difference between him and every other person in the world?" It's like this -- if a non-Christian goes out, gets drunk and parties hard on a Saturday night, he probably won't glance back with any regrets whatsoever -- it was all part of the plan. More than likely the next day he'll be looking toward planning the next night's activity with little thought of the past. The Christian on the other hand, who may have temporarily succumbed to temptation and joined the party, will almost invariably cry out, "Oh God, what have I done?"
It is humiliating but true -- we as Christians still retain this old nature. Yet it means defeat and death to live by it. So no child of God can be happy living for the things of the flesh. Yet, as Paul says in our passage today, ..."the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." The choice between death, or life and peace? It's really not too hard to choose between those alternatives. Unfortunately, the world seems to have given us so many more options. But are they options or distractions?
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Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.