For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
When it is football season around Sagebrush, there is a strange phenomenon that takes place. Magically, about half the people who show up for church come dressed in jerseys, sweatshirts, hats, beanies, and jackets showing their loyalty for their favorite team. People save up to see their favorite team play, whether it is traveling to the mecca for Cowboy fans in Arlington or braving the icy cold temperatures of Green Bay, people are crazy about football. We don't have to wonder if a person likes the Denver Broncos because they show up in all the gear each weekend and drink Orange Crush.
While it is easy at church to see what NFL team a person is loyal to, it is harder to see whether a person is a committed follower of Jesus Christ. It is not something that is easy to spot like a jersey and takes a little more effort. It is not as simple as buying a Sagebrush sweatshirt in our store. Rather, our loyalty is shown through our actions and decisions. The true test of whether a person is a child of God comes down to: Are they led by the Holy Spirit? Being led by the Holy Spirit means that a person surrenders control over to God and allows Him to lead. Instead of making decisions based on their own personal preference, they allow God to guide them.
Those who are led by the Spirit aren't perfect, but instead, see themselves as children of the most high King. The word "child" implies a couple of different things that are important. Children don't have it all together and are in the process of maturing. They are learning from their father, mother, or guardian the appropriate actions to take. They often get in trouble as they are trying to find their way, but with loving attention, they can be steered in the right direction. A child has to understand that they are in process and that this process is preparing them for the future. As a child of God, we are promised an inheritance in heaven. This world becomes a place of training and preparation for the life that God is putting together for us in heaven. We have to look at our motivations and align them with the fact that all we see around us is temporary, but the Kingdom of God lasts forever.
This is one of the reasons I love our church. We have so many people who know they are imperfect, but we come together as children who are in process to worship our perfect Savior. We look to Him as the One who is refining us and preparing us for heaven with eager anticipation. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit show their loyalty to Jesus Christ.
When you think about your own life, is there evidence that the Holy Spirit leads you? That is a hard question, so start by thinking through the decisions that you make every day. Are you allowing your decisions to be determined by the things that honor God, or are you making choices based on what is best for you? When it comes to your relationships, are you allowing God to lead you? Or are you living by your own standards? Take some time to process how you are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you.
Read Romans 8:1-17 (NLT)
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
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. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
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