Consider the following scripture text with me.
Romans 8:12-17 (NIV)
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
It is a confusing text, I must admit. There are a lot of words and phrases that are difficult to understand. Even the structure of the sentences can make it difficult.
Verse 13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
Some of us grew up hearing about a vindictive God that immediately punishes all of your mistakes, your misdeeds, and your plans for evil. Watch your step. There is a requirement of self-denial and self-punishment in the very name of Jesus. For some, this teaching works, but for many it drives people away from the presence of God instead of into the presence of God.
If verse 13 was the only instruction you received, you could be in trouble. You might live a life of fear of God and constantly wonder what punishment is around the next corner. You might never feel the loving arms of a Savior that feels your pain and knows what you are going through.
The blessing is . . . that is NOT the life Jesus wants for you.
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
There it is! The promise! The blessing! The answer to my fear.
I am NOT a slave to sin and death.
I am NOT a slave to living in fear.
Instead, I am adopted into the immediate family of God.
Not a cousin. Not an uncle. Not a nephew.
I am adopted as a son or daughter of the King of kings! That gives me the authority . . . no, that gives me the power . . . no, that gives me the right . . . no, I’m a child of God so I am welcome in the throne room (the living room?) of heaven and can call out “Father!” whenever I want.
That doesn’t mean your day might not have struggles, anxiety, pain, etc. It likely will have all of those things and more. And, as a child of the King of kings, I can step into the throne room and cry out, “Father!” And He will come running with open arms.
This reminds me of the song, “This Is How I Fight My Battles.” It is the type of song that takes me into worship right away. Some of the words are:
“The Word says ‘For the spirit of heaviness
Put on the garment of praise,’ that’s how we
Fight our battles.
“It may look like I’m surrounded but
I’m surrounded by you!”
It is from the throne room of prayer every day that I start my day. Remember, verse 17, says, “ . . . then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, . . .”
If I’m a co-heir with Christ, then it is possible I can take Matthew 3 and personalize it. Not to become Christ or even like Christ, but to claim my sonship with Father.
“ . . . ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”
I urge you to make this personal, write it in large letters and place it where you see it first thing in the morning.
[insert YOUR name here], whom I love, with you I am well pleased.
Jesus assures you that when you accept the work He did on the cross, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension, you become a child of the Living God. Not possibly. Not maybe. Not a series of other rules. You ARE a child of the Living God!
THAT is how I fight my battles!
For those that want to hear the song, “This Is How I Fight My Battles” here is a link. I apologize if there is an ad that precedes the actual video.