The Law of the Spirit of Life

Paul uses an interesting little phrase in Romans, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

It is one thing to know intellectually that we are free from condemnation and sin and death. It is another to know it experientially. When we were born again the seed of God was planted in our lives. This seed contains our spiritual genetics. We now have Jesus nature within us. If we wonder what the seed looks like as it matures Paul describes it in Galatians 5:22-23. We call it the fruit of the Spirit.

The juxtaposition Paul uses is that there are two laws at work and the power in the law of the Spirit of life frees us from power of the law of sin and death. The law of the Spirit of life is able to overcome sin and death at work in us. Great news if that is our experience.

Let me digress a bit. A law as a general principle is there to create boundaries regarding what it is safe to do. To experience the benefit of the law we need to submit to it. In this case the law of the Spirit of life. This means there are two parts, ours and His. He will work in us, in fact He is always at work in us. The degree of effectiveness comes back to our focus. Paul tells us that if we set our minds on the things of the Spirit we will walk in life and peace and if on the things of the flesh, death (Rom. 8:5-6).

Practically this ‘setting of the mind’ often comes down to the little things. When in conversation if we start to head in a certain direction and the Spirit is saying stop (this is an internal sense, a check in our spirit) and we keep going we are heading toward sin and death. If we stop we experience life and peace. We can apply this in a variety of areas of our life – what we think about, what we watch, how we treat others.

When we set our mind on the things of the Spirit we experience the law of the Spirit of life overpowering the law of sin and death. Let’s fix our minds there and show the world Jesus.  

A Heart of Compassion

Most of us are likely familiar with the story of the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-32). Yet in context the story isn’t about the son. Luke 15 begins with a group of upset people.

1  Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2 (NKJV)

Here was Jesus hanging out with the wrong crowd again. When the Pharisees and scribes complained Jesus responded by telling three stories, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. The point of each story is about rejoicing over recovering that which seemed beyond recovery. In the third story he uses the rigid older brother to represent the very people who were complaining at the beginning of the chapter.

Years ago I remember hearing John Wimber tell a story of what happened early on in his walk with Jesus. John got saved and he had a strong evangelistic anointing on his life. The fruit was he kept leading lost broken people to Jesus and bringing them to the church he and his family attended. A year or two into this he said he arrived one morning and an angry older lady confronted him and said, “You! You’ve ruined my church.” She was upset about all the broken wounded people coming in and the mess they brought with them. In telling the story John said he reflected on the lady’s comment and thought yes he had ruined her church but he couldn’t leave the lost as lost.

The point? There are two really. One, our Father is much more compassionate than we might think and He calls us to carry His heart. Two, following Jesus can be messy and may lead us to hanging out with the ‘wrong crowd.’ Hopefully we are doing both – carrying His heart and hanging out with some of the wrong people seeking to show them Jesus heart.  

Pursuing His Presence

There is an interesting verse in Luke.

15  However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16  So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:15-16 (NKJV)

While many of us are ‘busy’ I doubt we have the demands Jesus had on His time. Look at popular figures in our culture and how they try to avoid being hounded by the media and fans. I know I have had the experience of teaching a course or seminar and on a break I want to gather my thoughts and refresh myself. However, that is generally when those who want to talk take the opportunity to ask you questions. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means we need to get away at another time to be refreshed.

Far beyond what we experience Jesus was constantly in demand. Yet as the text says, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” While physically He withdrew to the wilderness, I think practically He was in the throne room interacting with His Father.

In recent weeks my heart has been drawn to the reality and significance of the throne room. It isn’t a place of accolades or recognition. It is a place of hiddenness but more importantly, it is a place of life, intimacy, wisdom, direction.

I believe we need to learn to physically withdraw and get away from noise and distractions. At the same time I also believe we need to learn to inwardly withdraw. We need to learn to deeply encounter Jesus. While others around us may be ‘busy’ in this season we need to develop a familiarity with the throne room and let our relationships and any ministry flow from that place. 

Here is a regular part of my prayer life for many of you. In recent weeks I have felt the weight of the Holy Spirit on it.

  • Awaken our hearts, stir up and release the gifts You have placed within us. Awaken within us a passion to fulfill the purposes You have called us to through Your word. Col. 4:17, 1 Tim. 1:18, 4:14-16, 2 Tim. 1:6, 2:1, 4:5

Let’s pursue His presence and purpose.

Kim Walker-Smith Throne Room

Keeping our Heart

Last week I focused on this phrase from Job 31:7 (NKJV), “Or my heart walked after my eyes,” and the importance of guarding our hearts. Let’s look at what happened to a wise man who failed to guard his heart.

Solomon is generally known for his wisdom. When following his life through scripture we see him recognizing his need and asking God for wisdom and discernment. In his request and Yahweh’s response we can see three things:  

  • Solomon’s request

9  Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? 1 Kings 3:9 (NKJV)

  • Yahweh’s response

11  And God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life – but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king – 12  wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 (NKJV)

  • Yahweh’s warning.

14  So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days. 1 Kings 3:14 (NKJV)

Over time we see what happened with Solomon’s heart.

23  So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 1 Kings 10:23 (NKJV)

Solomon possessed a heart of great wisdom. Yet when he failed to guard his heart he failed in life.

4  For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6  Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. 1 Kings 11:4-6 (NKJV)

We guard our hearts by doing two things:

  • By heeding the warning of scripture.

12  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)

  • By looking to the one who is wiser than Solomon and dwells within us.

42  The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:42 (NKJV) May we always look to Jesus so our hearts can freely walk after our eyes!