Last week Bible study was on Romans chapter 8. Some good discussion trying to figure out what Paul is saying. In the first half of the chapter I see two messages. First, by being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we finally CAN choose obedience to God and reject sin. Before God began His work in us, we were incapable of choosing God. We can call it “free will” but the will ain’t free when it is not even able to choose something other than sin.
But once God has begun that work and the Holy Spirit has changed our heart, we are now able to obey God, to love God, to want to do God’s will. We still have the old sin nature to contend with, and lots of ingrained habits of sin to break and replace with good habits. But we are at least able to entertain the choice to obey.
The second point Paul is making is that we must be intentional about living in obedience. We can’t just “let go, and let God”. It doesn’t work that way. Our old habits and our sinful nature will steer us wrong just about every time if we just go with the flow. We must choose God’s way. We must pray for God to increase our desire for Him, and then we must read the Bible to get to know God better and think on Him the way we think on anything or anyone we want to know better and love more.
And we need to have a plan. That’s why I like having a Bible study to attend, and a Bible reading plan for the year, and take notes if necessary to make sure I’m paying attention during the sermon, and carefully choose what blogs or authors I read. (Not saying I’m perfect, but giving examples of ways to be intentional.)
We want to avoid being legalists, so we seek to avoid “rules” but we can miss out if we don’t have any discipline at all around our faith. We aren’t saved by our efforts, but we are expected to make efforts to increase our faith and knowledge of God and build new habits. That’s called fruit, evidence that we are saved and want more of God.
The more we do this intentional living of our faith, the more spontaneous expressions of our faith we’ll find. Doxology praise singing after receiving a blessing, crying out to God first thing when we find we need Him, sacrificial service for others. We become a better witness and a better child of God.
Be intentional today. Look for ways to pursue God, pursue holiness, live the grace you’ve been given!