Daily Devotion – April 6, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law– indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
We say we believe in a Triune God. It’s pretty clear from the Bible and the creeds who God the Creator is and who God the Son, Jesus, is. But the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, that is a little harder to get our heads around. I have made an effort to do so, but I am not learned in pneumatology, the subject of God the Spirit. I have made friends over the years with scholars on the subject but remain cloudy.
Let’s just start with this passage from Romans, where Paul gives us some clues. The Spirit is not the flesh. OK. And if we set our minds on the Spirit, we will be embracing life and peace. That sounds good! Later in verse 9 Paul claims his readers/hearers are “in the Spirit” because the Spirit of God dwells in them. So, somehow believers in Jesus have God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in them. Because they have been baptized? Or maybe just because they have come to believe in Jesus? However it has occurred, the Spirit is with and in them. And later in verse 10: “The Spirit is life because of righteousness” (meaning a right relationship with God, not some kind of hyper right behavior).
I am wondering this week if the Spirit is implanted in us and acts the way a modem acts in our homes. We have God’s Spirit, a way of connecting to God in order to keep our relationship with God right and flowing. It’s there whether we wanted that modem or not, and since it’s there, we can, on all our wireless devices, be in communication with God anytime on a clear channel. Enough bandwidth, even! OK, it is a weird metaphor. But it helps me think about having a resource that helps us keep our right relationship with God. So when we falter or fail, we can ask forgiveness. When we rejoice, God can rejoice with us. That, after all, is a right relationship. And we have it because of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Look at Luther’s explanation for the third article of the creed and you will see the Holy Spirit working to call us, gather us, enlighten us, and sanctify us. That’s a spectacular kind of modem. I’m determined to rejoice in it more, be thankful for the gift, and use it to keep my relationship with God in working order.
Dear Lord our God, Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Help us to remember to realize we have it, be grateful for it, and use it to keep our channels open to you. Amen