There is a growing interest these days in spiritual matters. People feel “spiritual” when they go to church, walk in the woods, meditate on the creation or have some personally moving experience. But in the Bible, God defines the spirituality that is objective and pleasing to Him. It is the spirituality that results from being led by the Holy Spirit. In Romans chapter eight, God gives us a clear description of the two kinds of people who live in this world: those who are “after the flesh” and those who are “after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5)
People who are “after the flesh” are those who are not born again Christians. They might profess to be Christians and act spiritual and feel spiritual but they are “carnally” minded (v. 6) and, therefore, hostile toward God and unable to submit to His will (v. 7). They do not have the Spirit of God indwelling them and do not belong to Christ (v. 9). These people love the world and the things of the world and are enslaved to sin and their own will. They don’t know Jesus Christ personally and, therefore, continue to live “after the flesh” and ultimately die in their sins and perish (v. 13a). However “spiritual” they might feel, they are not led by the Holy Spirit!
Those who are led by the Spirit are born again, indwelled by the Spirit, and free from the bondage to the sin nature’s power (v. 2). This is a marvelous work of God, sovereignly changing a hopeless, carnal, hostile sinner to become a spiritual, obedient, and joyful child of God. The true Christian does not just “feel” spiritual; he is “spiritual” and it shows in his life. The Holy spirit who regenerates the heart, leads the Christian to “mortify” or kill sin (v. 13). The Holy Spirit does this by leading the Christian to see Jesus Christ in His sacrifice and suffering and substitutionary atonement and His great love for each of His children. As the believer sees the love of Christ and all the He did to bring salvation and forgiveness to him, he responds by saying “No” to the sins that used to dominate his life. His desire is to please the Lord who saved him.
Romans 8:14 says you can know if you are a son of God by the fact that you are “led” by the Spirit. It is not a feeling but an objective measure of your relationship to God: those who are saved and adopted into the family of God (v. 15), are being led by the Spirit to have victory over sin and to bear fruit for the Lord (the fruit of the Spirit: Gal 5:22, 23).
Today, ask yourself who is leading you. This is a matter of eternal importance. Those who are led by the spirit of this world (the flesh) must die eternally (v. 13a). Those who are led by the Spirit of God will live eternally (v. 13b). Don’t depend on your feelings; trust your life to Jesus Christ by the grace of God and begin to live for Him as the Holy Spirit leads you in truth.
Pastor Bob Dennis