“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation ~ but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs ~ heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” ~ Romans 8:12-17
What does it look like to live according to the “sinful nature”? Well, the passage says, “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die.” That puts things pretty bluntly, but I think it’s talking about dying spiritually. Later in the passage it says, “for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear.” This implies that before we accept God’s Spirit ~ while we are still immersed in our sin nature ~ that we were a slave to fear. I have suffered from physical-based fears, but also a few emotional-based ones, and I must say it’s no fun at all to let fear run your life. You end up regretting a lot of things. This is something I’ve talked to God about and we’re working on it together, and I have definitely felt a difference. Fighting off my fears has made me overall more joyful, and I enjoy my life and experiences a lot more.
One way we can “put to death the misdeeds of the body” is by fighting off your fears, both emotional and physical. Our sin nature leads us to do many things that God doesn’t like because it leads us into temptation. But when we accept Christ into our hearts, His Spirit gives us strength and we focus on what GOD wants more than on what WE want.
This passage is talking about life with your sinful nature and life in the Spirit, and they are opposites, which means the Spirit has nothing in common with a sinful nature, which means there is nothing sinful about the Spirit, which means the Spirit is perfectly pure and holy. But it also says we have an obligation to live by the Spirit.
It feels pretty good to be one of “God’s children.” Just a couple years ago I wasn’t really in touch with God at all, and I was really focused on something that I thought He wanted me to do, though I didn’t wait or ask for His opinion, instead just going in on my own accord. Now that I truly want to know Him personally and be changed by Him, I feel more joy, more peace, and more desire to do His will.
But think about it, and look at what it says! “If we are children, then we are heirs ~ heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed, we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, IF we share in His sufferings. I think it’s pretty much saying that you can’t just take the good stuff. There is always a price to pay for something good, and trust me: THIS is TOTALLY worth it.