Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK SIX
ORBIT – DAY TWENTY SEVEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each weekday we look together at a little bit of the Bible, and ask how we might be able to apply it to today. Please do tell your friends and family about these daily readings if you think they’d find them helpful. At the moment we’re working our way through Paul’s letter to the Romans – as he explains some of the most important ideas of the Christian faith to the early church.
BIBLE READING – Romans 8: 5-9
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.
Who is driving your car? This is obviously a metaphorical question: I’m not actually asking you who drives in your house. But in the sense of how you make your decisions, and set your priorities, what or who is in charge?
In this reading, Paul suggests two extreme possible answers to this question. On the one hand, we can “have our minds set on what the flesh desires.” Where this happens, we basically live on our base instincts. We desire comfort, self-centred relationships and pleasure. We want to accumulate as much stuff as possible.
The other option Paul gives is having “our minds set on what the Spirit desires”. In this scenario, we’re allowing the Holy Spirit to drive our metaphorical car. He naturally leads us to make decisions that are in line with God’s will, and his way of doing things. What the spirit desires is also that list of things which emerges in us when we walk with the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Paul doesn’t set this up as an inconsequential either/or: he says that “the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” There’s clearly a right and a wrong way to go – but it is up to us to decide between them. We can choose to listen to the Spirit who lives within us, or we can choose to ignore him and pursue the opposite.
The thing is, this isn’t a one-time choice, but a daily one. If God’s Spirit lives in us, then we need to decide daily to keep in step with him, instead of falling back into our old ways. How do we manage that? By asking God, every day, to give us more of his Spirit. To fill us with himself, and to set our minds always on what he desires.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I pray for more of your Holy Spirit. Fill me with your presence and power, and continue to transform my mind, so that the decisions I make might be in line with yours. Help me to see where I’m out of step with you, and recommit me to the path of following you closely today. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today’s challenge is best performed at the end of the day. It’s based on an old idea called the Examen, which has been practiced by Nuns, Monks and other followers of Jesus for hundreds of years. Spend a bit of time in quiet – not in bed, or else you’ll probably relax and fall asleep – reflecting on the day. Ask yourself: what are the moments that went well, and where could you have acted differently? Where could you have chosen to pursue what the Spirit desires, instead of what the flesh wants? And where did you make a good choice, which meant you were prioritising God’s way and will? Finish by thanking God for all that today held – and then you’re allowed to go to bed! If you enjoy this, you might even want to make it a daily practice.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!