You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you (v.9).
Last year, a man penned his own obituary before he died of cancer. The obit revealed the man’s sense of humor, but it also detailed some serious confession. The 59-year-old came clean about stealing a safe from a business as a young man and lying about a doctorate degree he hadn’t earned. In death, his secret sins were exposed. His posthumous spilling of the beans revealed transgressions he had likely pondered for many years.
Paul wrote that we don’t have to “think about sinful things,” for “those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t feel guilty for unconfessed sins of the past, but that we can be victorious in overcoming the urge to pursue sinful stuff today.
Paul explains that “letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (v.6). Without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we’re doomed to spiritual “death” (vv.2,6). But, Paul says, “[Believers in Jesus] are not controlled by [their] sinful nature. [They] are controlled by the Spirit of God living in [them]” (v.9). The Spirit has allowed us to be set free from the power of sin and death.
Now, does this mean that we’re impervious to sinful desires after receiving salvation in Jesus? No. Though we have the Holy Spirit within us, we are still able to sin. But He is greater and stronger than any other force we will encounter on earth, and that’s why we can walk in life and light with Jesus.
As Paul says, “If through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live” (v.13). May we live in the Spirit’s power today!
Read Galatians 2:20 and consider what it means to receive new life in Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit.
How can the Holy Spirit help us when we’re tempted to sin? What can keep us from tapping into His sin-resisting power?