For thousands of years, religious people have tried to attain perfection and goodness. Countless rules have been written, only to reveal our still imperfect hearts.
A pious man devoted his life to studying his religion’s holy books and trying to do good deeds. But he was frustrated by the lack of change he saw in his life; he was still filled with an emptiness and anger that he couldn’t shake. Then, he met Jesus! The freedom, joy, and transformation he had chased for years in his own strength came from receiving Jesus’s love and the Holy Spirit. For the first time, he said he experienced real joy and strength to love others in a way he never knew was possible.
We can probably relate. Even while doing the right things, our thoughts are often cruel, self-righteous, selfish, and judgmental! Knowing this, Jesus said that He would send a Teacher, Comforter, Helper, and Advocate named the Holy Spirit. The book of John records Jesus saying, “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me” (John 15:26a).
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
The Holy Spirit gives the real power that Jesus knew we needed to live transformed lives of love for others. How do we get this power? We agree that God’s way is better than ours and we give the leadership of our lives to Jesus. We agree to obey even when it contradicts selfish wants. As we obey and spend time with Jesus, this power that the Bible calls “grace” changes our hearts. Here’s the end result: Scripture says that “Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6b).
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