May 16, 2014
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's Law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 8:5-7
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines "lifestyle" as "someone's way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do."
Akos did not know that it's essential to have a spiritual lifestyle. That's because she so much cared about the natural. Maybe that's why Akos, who is an intelligent professor in law, was surprised to hear from the evangelist that when your mind is controlled by the Holy Spirit, who gives us faith in the Christ, the end result is life and peace.
This leads me to ask, "Just what does it mean to live according to the sinful nature and not "according to the Spirit"?
To have your mind controlled by your sinful nature means worldly desires and objectives will always be foremost in your life. An unbeliever cares only for his selfish sinful interests and has no regard for God.
The exact opposite is true for those who live according to the Spirit and who exhibit a spiritual lifestyle. God's people wish to obtain that which the Spirit offers. You remember the list which Scripture has: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:22-24).
In Galatians 5:17 we read, "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."
The constant desire of the fallen nature is to sin.
The Holy Spirit is the divine Provider who helps us stand against sin. The evil nature wishes to use believers for sinful purposes, while the Holy Spirit desires to use us for God's glory. The battle for believers is to follow the Spirit and not their own sinful propensities.
The Biblical Illustrator states that the man who has the Spirit desires not to see but to believe, not to smell but to think. The sound of truth is better to the spiritual man than the noise of church bells and organs.
The spiritual man lives by faith in the Word of God.
When Akos was brought to faith by the Holy Spirit and heard the evangelist's pleadings through the power of the Word, her life was never the same. She dedicated the rest of her days to studying the Word of God. She enrolled in the church's theological education by extension, and she is now a deaconess of the church.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Grant me a spiritual lifestyle that loves You and the things of the Spirit. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Lawrence Akorli Kwaw. Pastor Kwaw attended Lutheran Seminary, Obot Idim, Nigeria, and was commissioned as an evangelist for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana in 1994. He has served as a pastor at St. Peter's Lutheran, Holy Trinity Lutheran, All Saints Lutheran, and is currently pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Pastor Kwaw is a music teacher at St Peter's Lutheran School and a speaker for Lutheran Hour Ministries' media program: "In Touch." In this West African country of 24 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Ghana, known locally as Lutheran Media Ministry, has its headquarters in Accra and was established in 1993. This ministry center uses Equipping the Saints (ETS) and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to communicate the Gospel and provide training on Scripture and Christian doctrine. A musical group, The Harps, ministers in public through song, while drama and storytelling are used to share the love of Jesus. Additionally, staff and volunteers are active in children's ministries and reach out to the incarcerated with food, Christian literature, and clothing. You can read Ghana's blog at lmmgh.wordpress.com.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries