Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today’s Reading: Romans 8:11-19

“So then, brothers,we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” – Romans 8:12-13

Putting to death the deeds of the body is a spiritual exercise. It is first and foremost to live by grace alone, because it is to refuse to let our flesh play any part in the life that is ours by faith. It is hard to resist the flesh’s lower urges. We rely on the Spirit of Christ to help us in our weakness. It is even harder to resist our flesh’s higher aspirations, which aim to take credit for our self-discipline, our knowledge, and even our faith. Against both temptations, the Spirit of God dispels the spirit of fear by teaching us: You owe the flesh nothing. You are children of God.

If we were destined for death and hell, we would surely owe our flesh a great deal. We would owe our whole future to our appetites and self-righteous imaginations. But if we are destined for resurrection and life, for righteousness and joy, to whom do we owe our future but to Christ the crucified? The Spirit, who quickens us by faith, is the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus bodily from the dead after He bore our sins on the cross. We resist sin by the same power that we resist self-righteous congratulation. We look to Christ who was put to death to give us life. The life we live we owe to Him.

Prayer: Should some lust or sharp temptation Prove too strong for flesh and blood, Let me think upon Thy Passion, And the breach is soon made good. Or should Satan press me hard, Let me then be on my guard, Saying, “Christ for me was wounded,” That the Tempter flee confounded (Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing, LSB 421:2).

This devotion was written by Rev. John Preus – Pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Clinton.

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