Apostle Don Meares
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
What happens when you lose your war between the flesh and the Spirit? There are five things we have to look at in Romans 8:12-13.
First: Who is Paul talking to?
The Apostle Paul is speaking to the believer. If you consider yourself a believer, he is talking to you.
Second: There is a scary and frightening warning.
The warning is in verse 13: “If you live according to the flesh, you will die.” You, the believer, will die. This means being separated from God. This is a scary warning.
Third: What is the listener’s duty?
Our duty as believers is to live by the Holy Spirit and reject the needs of our flesh.
Fourth: Who is the Helper referred to in the text?
The Helper is the Holy Spirit who enables us to put the deeds of the body to death.
Fifth: What promise does God give us if we put the deeds of the body to death?
If we put to death the deeds of the body daily, God promises that we will live.
So what will it be? Will you choose death or life?
Don’t lose the life you have through Christ Jesus!
Even if you are a believer, you can go back and choose death. This is frightening. Even if you think you’re saved, returning to death is possible. You will lose the life you were given in Jesus Christ. Choosing the flesh would lead you to die spiritually and be separated from God.
In verse 12, Paul makes another compelling statement. He says, “Brethren, you do not owe the flesh anything.” He says, “You are not a debtor to the flesh.” We don’t owe the flesh anything, but as believers, we must comprehend that you are a debtor to God. We owe God everything. We owe the flesh nothing because He gave us His Son. And because Jesus gave us His life, Jesus and the Father gave us the Holy Spirit. The bottom line is this: Jesus is the one who has given us what we have today as believers.
We owe our entire being, our existence, literally everything to Him. Therefore, He must have priority over our lives. We are a debtor to God. The Bible confirms that we owe God everything because He bought us – He bought us to own us. He paid the price for us. We belong to Him. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
Ephesians 2:10, says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Before you were born, God saw you. God chose you before you ever became a seed in your mother’s womb, and God said, “I am going to let you come into this world so that you can do the works that I have as an assignment for your life.” So, we are His creation, and He has bought us from death. He has renewed us in life and continues to renew us in His image. He wants to make us sons and daughters.
Do you have that mindset that your obedience to God is a debt you owe Him? If not, you need to get that mindset. You need to develop that mindset.
Second Corinthians 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer to themselves.” You don’t have the right as a believer to live unto yourself. You are a debtor to God. He bought you. He owns you. Your body is His temple.
Forget those things that are behind; press toward the mark of the high calling wherein in Christ Jesus. Our wisdom and goal should be not to allow the distractions of this life to pull us back, even including our marriage or family. It’s easy to get entangled in the world by what you give your marriage and your family.
You only have one soul and only one life to live, and nobody will be next to you defending you on Judgment Day. You will be by yourself, and your tears on that day of repentance will mean absolutely nothing to God. The repenting we must do is always on the Earth. You have to keep a broken heart. You must be tender to His touch. You must be humble. It keeps you from becoming lukewarm or cold.
The Apostle Paul tells us clearly that you cannot sow to the flesh. If you sow to the flesh, you’re going to reap corruption. The more you sow to the flesh, the more you will die. So, stop watching, listening, and consuming those things that can destroy you from the inside out. We need to stop being distracted by worldly matters.
How to know if you are alive in the Lord
Three things in your walk with the Lord say you are alive in Him. Number one, your hunger for the Lord. Number two, your faith in His promises. And number three, your love for the Lord. In the natural, the moment you lose your hunger, you are sick. When you get sick, you lose your appetite. In the flesh, when people get sick, they lose their appetite physically. When you are sick as a Christian, you lose your spiritual hunger and thirst for God, longing for the Lord, His Word, and the knowledge of who He is.
In the natural, what three things say a baby is alive? Number one, if a baby is hungry, they must be fed. Number two, they know who their parents are. Even though they cannot speak a language, they know who their parents are and by knowing where their parents are. Even though they cannot yet talk to them, that causes a relationship.
Like babies, we must first be hungry for the Lord. Second, we must believe we are saved and born again. A baby believes and trusts in their parents. There’s a relationship even before they can talk or know who’s feeding them. They know who they can trust. Thirdly, you must have faith. In God, you have to have hunger and thirst.
The third thing is that we must discover that we love our parents like a baby. We must love God. It is a supernatural thing that you can love someone you have never seen before. Two thousand years ago, people saw Jesus and did not love Him. Today, we have not seen Him, but we love Him. If you’re alive in God, you are hungry and thirsty in God. You have faith in His promises and love Him by the work of the Holy Spirit, certainly not the work of the flesh. But when you start dying spiritually, you lose your hunger and don’t want to bother reading the Bible. You lose your faith. You begin to question what God says in His Word. You begin to have questions. And your heart gets cold. Your heart becomes hardened. So, it’s proof that you are going backward. You are dying spiritually.
If you spend time with Him in prayer and with Him in the Word, you will begin to know Him. There are times when we read the Scriptures, and all we can do in response is weep because it feeds us and gives us a revelation of not only what He’s done for us but who He is to us, even just by reading. And every one of us needs to grow continually. If you’re not reading the Scriptures daily, you’re missing what God’s called you to do. And He’s not asking us to do it according to how we feel.
Don’t sow to the flesh. Don’t ignore the Lord in His Word and do stuff where you’re entangled. You need to examine yourself. If you are committed to God’s purposes, your attitude should be, “I’m here to conquer. I’m here to occupy. I’m waiting for His return. I’m here to do things. I’m here to be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.”
Luke 11:35 tells us:
“Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.”
You can have the light in you become dark. That means you are sowing to the flesh, and you’re going to reap corruption because the light has gone out inside of you, and the old darkness comes back. You don’t want that. It’s not how you start that matters. It’s how you end. It’s not how you fall that matters. It’s how you get up.
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. If you follow and walk according to the flesh, you cannot please God. It’s impossible. There’s a big difference between an enemy and enmity. You can reconcile with an enemy, but you can never reconcile with enmity. Enmity is against God. And to be carnally minded is death. It means you have enmity. The flesh is that irreconcilable enemy of holiness. The devil, the world, and the pride of life is enmity against God. The flesh is in the womb; we’re all sinners conceived and formed in the womb.
Every day, there is a war between the flesh and spirit. To live after the flesh means that you are being governed by evil nature. And for people that go after the flesh, the glory of God becomes nothing to them, and the flesh becomes everything to them. We are commanded in Romans 6:12, “Therefore, do not let sin reign or rule or dominate you.” A lot of people get up and are mean every day. They are not happy every day because they made that choice, and it just becomes a habit of their life. It’s just a decision. But if you choose to follow the Lord, He will give you His peace, joy, and all other forms of provision. Though there may be circumstances, you can live a fulfilling life.
We can’t conquer the flesh alone. But we must decide not to entertain it. Let us not make any provision for our flesh. Don’t even be entangled by the affairs of this life. The Holy Spirit is a guiding force that helps us say no to the flesh and conquer our sinful inclinations. Let us cleanse ourselves from the filthiness of our flesh and decide to fight our carnal desires to align with God. If we choose this, the Lord will empower us to have life. He will also give us His power to do His will.
Choose the path of the Spirit over the desires of the flesh. Center your life on God and experience His blessing in all areas of your life. Watch the full sermon “What Happens When You Lose Your War” here:
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