“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
I recently had to ask where the Christian section was in a Barnes and Noble – they directed me to the self-help section. Self-help is defined as “self-guided improvement,” and from my experience makes me feel like I always have more stuff to work on. Thankfully, Jesus is the one person in the bookstore telling you to relax, stop striving and just open the door. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me" (Revelations 3:20). Jesus has already done the hard work—all you have to do is invite Him in.
In Romans 8, Paul explains that Jesus paid our debt of sin, so that now we are free from its penalty and can live freely by the spirit. No need to worry if we are qualified—if we’ve asked Jesus into our lives and believe Him to be who He says He is, we can live by the spirit, for the spirit of God lives in us.
Guess what that means? Even though we may mess up, or our circumstances turn south, it doesn’t change who we are in Him. We are alive—not just awake and breathing, but vibrant and overflowing because of Jesus’ righteous and perfect life! And get this, that’s not even all of it! Even though our bodies will waste away, the God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Romans 8:11 says His salvation doesn’t stop at inner transformation, but even extends to God giving life to our mortal, sinful bodies.
The spirit of God is powerful enough to heal and resurrect. Do we really get that? We have the spirit of the Creator alive in us! Paul, the man who went from persecuting Christians to converting them, is telling us to get ready for the unexpected. He understood that the way we see things now is not the end of the story. God orchestrates miracles, and the spirit living in us redefines possibilities. We can try, try, try and hope to change from the outside in. We can find the most successful person, buy their book, and try to be like them. But our hope should be rooted in the truth of our salvation: that God can, has and will continue to transform us from the inside out.