Romans 13:9-13 – For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
Our innate tendency as humans is to live by the flesh. It’s only by making a plan and tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do otherwise.
Here in Romans 13, Paul gives us a list, comparing and contrasting, to help us check ourselves on whether we’re living in the flesh or in the Spirit. We could view these as the “10 Commandment Killers”. We can only obey the 10 Commandments by living in the Spirit and, by living in the flesh, we would break every single one.
- Living in the flesh: If you’re married, adultery is dishonoring or lusting after someone else with either your hands or your heart. In today’s time, this is easier than ever with the invention of the internet through pornography or online dating websites.
- Living in the Spirit: We can honor our marriage covenant by loving our spouse enough to not lust after anyone else.
- Living in the flesh: We not only murder people with our hands, but we murder them with our hearts by trying to destroy people’s reputations.
- Living in the Spirit: We can respond to others in love and seek not to tear them down, physically or verbally.
- Living in the flesh: Illegally taking something that doesn’t belong to you, whether that’s time or physical property.
- Living in the Spirit: We can share with others what God has been gracious enough to bless us with.
- Living in the flesh: This is a strong discontentment with what you don’t have when you see that others do have it. Oftentimes you go into more debt to gain these things that aren’t even meant to be yours. Social media magnifies this, especially Facebook or Instagram, which are the Greek words for “covet”.
- Living in the Spirit: We can be content with what God has given us, knowing that what we have is what He meant for us to have. Remember that social media almost always magnifies other people’s good to make your bad feel worse. “They” have bad days just like you do.
- Living in the flesh: This is the epitome of “you do you”. People do whatever they want without thinking about others or the long-term effects.
- Living in the Spirit: We need to, as Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
- Living in the flesh: This is a lack of moderation whether it be with alcohol, food, or drugs.
- Living in the Spirit: We need to make a plan for not overconsuming (or consuming at all) things that can potentially bring harm to our body.
- Sexual immorality
- Living in the flesh: This is when your sex life or sexual desires are out of balance with the will of God and includes all forbidden sex, which is anything outside of heterosexual marriage. The flesh is about self-indulgence.
- Living in the Spirit: We need to have self-control outside of marriage and, within marriage, we need to consider the feelings and needs of our spouse over our own, with hope that they’ll do the same as a sacrifice to each other.
- Living in the flesh: This is simply a shameful life, again not thinking of anyone else and just being selfish.
- Living in the Spirit: We don’t need to be like us, we need to be like Jesus. We need to be true to Him, not to ourselves.
- Living in the flesh: This is when we hate someone else and try to get others to join our unholy alliance against that person. Some people define their relationships by who is in the fight with them, and some friendships and families are only held together by a common enemy. If your involvement in people’s lives causes more division, conflict, gossip, pain, separation, distrust, and suspicion, you are in the flesh.
- Living in the Spirit: We must bring people together and unite with other healthy people to have healthy relationships by the power of the Spirit.
- Living in the flesh: This is when we look at someone else’s life and, when we see good, joyful, and healthy things in their life, we want to destroy it.
- Living in the Spirit: By the power of the Spirit, we can build others up.
Which one(s) of these do you struggle with the most? How can you go from living in the flesh to living in the Spirit in that area this week?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.