No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave...
Thoughts for Today:Our passage today is one of the greatest keys to achieving God's goals in both our ministries collectively and our lives personally. How so? Think back to before you were saved -- we were all slaves to the demands of our flesh. Romans 8:5a: "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires." In other words, our flesh governed our thoughts and emotions.
To see how true this is listen to some of the conversations around you at work, the grocery store, or in class. You'll hear the average person talking about their flesh: financial concerns, hobbies, recreational activities, work, and other physical concerns. Yet, when we are saved -- suddenly everything is different. The spirit obtains control, and the body becomes its slave. Romans 8:5b: "But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
The problem is the flesh hates not being in control. It demands to be heard -- and when it is given in to -- a believer's life becomes a mess. Romans 8:6: "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." So what do we do if we've allowed the body to regain control? We get down on our knees and humbly pray, "Lord, forgive me; I've given into the flesh once again." We confess our sin, and turn our life back over to God.
Some people think this needs to be an hourly, daily, or weekly process. Yet, Paul says in our passage today, "No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave." He keeps his flesh in its proper place -- governed by the Spirit. For us practically we need to say, "I won't let my body determine what I watch, read, or think about. I will keep my mind set on what the Spirit desires."
Questions to Ponder:Does your flesh or the Spirit rule your life? Paul says, "Strike a blow to the body." He means that we need to deny the demands of the flesh. It's one reason Jesus said in Matthew 6:16: "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." He did not say, "If you fast," He said, "When you fast." The point is, when we learn to regularly say, "No" to the temptations of our stomachs, we will find it easier to say, "No" to all the other temptations we encounter. So what's in control of your life?