How can we live a life that pleases God? Today we’re looking at something the Spirit does in us that the law could never do, and how that frees us to live a life that pleases God.
5 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. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
In the Old Testament God gave Israel the law to show people what it looks like to perfectly love God from the heart. But the law had no power to produce the loving heart that God desires. The law is that mirror that shows up all our spots and blemishes, which we can only look upon with despair.
When Jesus came, he perfectly fulfilled all the requirements of the law; he loved God and others just as the law required. Still, Jesus’ perfect life has no power to produce in us the loving heart that God desires. When we look upon Jesus’ perfect life, we’re still seeing reflected back at us all our imperfections and faults. Despair upon despair. How can we live a life that pleases God?
This is why the Holy Spirit is so important for both our salvation, and for living a life that pleases God. The Spirit opens our eyes, both to grieve at our sinfulness but also to find assurance in Jesus’ death in our place, and to trust in him for forgiveness. The Spirit gives us new eyes to look upon Jesus, not with despair, but with hope – a hope assured because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The Spirit does something the law could not do – he gives us a new heart that’s no longer set on sin, but that desires to love and obey God in everything we do (Jeremiah 31:33; John 3:5-6).
We can live “in accordance with the Spirit” because we have a new heart that’s set on what the Spirit desires. The Spirit accomplishes in us exactly what God desires – hearts that love him and desire to live a life that pleases him (1 Thess. 4:1, 7). Jesus’ perfect life is the example we can begin to follow. We are growing to be more and more like Christ, as we are renewed in his image (2 Cor. 3:18), and we look ahead to the day when we are made like Jesus, his perfect life a mirror reflecting the stunning image of what we will be in heaven (1 John 3:2).
Head: What does the Spirit do to enable you to live a life that pleases God?
Heart: How do you see the Spirit growing you to be more like Christ?
Hands: As you live by the Spirit, what steps will you take to keep growing?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus’ blood that washes away all my sin, and makes me holy. Thank you that you haven’t left me as an orphan, but have given me the Spirit of Jesus, giving me a new heart and a new mind – the mind of Christ. Help me today to live according to what the Spirit desires, and to live out the love that you have poured into my heart by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Grace Awaiting Me
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.