"For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13)
Since we have been freed from the sin nature, Paul is telling us to live accordingly. This is what he is saying in today's verse, if you live by the previous nature you will die. But on the other hand if you live according the Spirit you will experience life right here and now on this earth. He is speaking about living in the natural realm. The death he is talking about is not eternal separation from God, but instead it is the things that become death to us and keep us subservient to them, when we were designed to be completely free.
Galatians 5 gives us a good portrait of these things that he wants us to be free of. "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" ( Galatians 5:19-23 ). The things that flow out of living contrary to your new nature will produce death in your life, your relationships, your workplace and your home. These things are evident by behavior. If we live like this, then we give ourselves over to be ruled and controlled by these things even though Jesus purchased our freedom from them.
However the contrast to these things exist in our born again spirit, these things are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These things describe Jesus. He has gifted us with these fruits and by allowing these things to operate in our lives, then we will experience true life in our relationships, our workplaces and our homes. This is how we were designed to live. But it takes a choice. You have to decide to live this way, which is contrary to the world around you. These things were provide for you at salvation and you are fully equipped to live this way if you choose to. Paul said, "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" ( Romans 8:6 ).
It is the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you that equips and enables you to live according to your new nature fashioned after Jesus in true righteousness and holiness ( Ephesians 4:24 ). The problem arises because our minds are so deadened to this amazing truth. The world has deceived us into thinking that this should be a struggle. We are so in tuned with everything around us that this becomes reality to us instead of renewing our mind to this wonderful Word and letting that truth sink into our hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit has given us the power to live fresh and anew everyday and by allowing him control in our lives we will experience these things in our entire existence.
Why did God provide this power and freedom for you? It was a testament to how much he loves you. The Holy Spirit inside of you give evidence that you are a child of God. No longer a slave, but an heir. And as an heir He wants you to have all of the benefits of being his child. He loves you so much that He did everything to reconcile you unto himself. He wants you to experience His love every day of your life. Today, it is my prayer that you understand how free you are in Christ Jesus. May you get a revelation of his love and experience true victory in life living by the Spirit of God. Amen.