Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Occupying the Mind with Christ!

Meditation for the week of August 7, 2011

Romans 8:2-3  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.   For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.

Just what is the sin nature?  Is it not the desire that we all have from birth to try the things that we are told not to do?  Surely, we think we are being deprived of some privilege or pleasure when we listen to the “thou shalt not” decrees of God.  Isn’t that how Satan convinced Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit?  He told her that eating that fruit would open her eyes (that is, give her understanding she didn’t presently have),  and it would make her “like” God.  I don’t think Satan has to speak to us in that same way anymore, because it is in our nature to try anything that has a “Don’t do that!” associated with it.  If we tell a child not to touch a hot stove, usually they have to touch it to see why they shouldn’t touch it.  Most of them don’t ever touch one again. 

When we are told not to do something and when we try not to do it, we tend to center our thinking on the negative rather than centering our thinking on the positive.  We tend to live our lives by trying to keep from offending God which is a burden that most of us cannot bear.  Instead we need to live our lives positively, with a desire to please God and then we will have neither time nor energy to fixate on what we should not do.  Neither will we spend our time wondering what great pleasures are eluding us because we have chosen not to do the things that God says we shouldn’t do. 

The law has great power over our lives and it will always defeat us.  Paul himself makes that clear when he says in Romans 7:19,  “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”  It is possible to deal with this problem like the unregenerate (unsaved) would and say that it is impossible to keep the law, so why try?  Or we can relegate the principles of the law to another day and say that they are not relevant in our society.  Or we can do like Paul and recognize that the only solution is Christ.  Paul says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:24-25).”  I think Paul is saying that the mind that has been regenerated through the new birth is occupied with Christ, is motivated by the desire to please Christ, and is no longer occupied (or maybe I should say preoccupied) with the sinful desires of the natural man (or flesh).

A person who lives by the law is living a defeated life according to Paul.  His life will be a life filled with burdens because, if he is honest with himself, he will know that he has not lived up to his own standards let alone living up to the standards of God.  It was that conviction of sin that led those of us who are saved, to come to Christ for an answer that reformation and our own efforts could not achieve for us.  When we trusted Him, we found grace and mercy and deliverance from the condemnation and burden of the law.  Christ bore those burdens for us and now we are free from the law. Free, that is, to serve voluntarily and devotionally the Lord who delivered us.  By serving Him and not the law we are led by the spirit.  Our life is lived positively and not negatively.  We are occupied with what is good and not with what is bad but tempting.  We may from time to time yield to the temptations of the flesh but our occupation is with Christ.  Our focus is on heaven and not on earth.  Our victory is in the resurrection and we don’t have time or energy to squander on trying to “keep the law.” 

Paul says in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”  We can and should thank the Lord for the power of the Holy Spirit that frees us from the power of the law.  The Holy Spirit leads us in the same path of holiness that the law would have led us, but the Holy Spirit does that by keeping our focus on Christ.

Bruce Collins

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