BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:5-8 NKJV).
He sat down with a bottle of beer before him, and a smoldering stick of cigarette, in his hand, in traffic, between his mouth and the tray beside him. The content of the bottle kept reducing just as the length of the cigarette was becoming shorter as he drank and smoked respectively.
There was a lady beside him, enjoying his company; she was nearly naked. She did not seem to recognize that exposing parts of the body that are supposed to be hidden was an abuse of herself – a lack of respect for herself. She was devaluing herself, but she said it was fashion. Soon, both started laughing, drowsily, but the laughter showed they were not in control. The alcohol they had both consumed was taking its toll on them. Nevertheless, they seemed not to be in a hurry to leave the place; they were not the only ones there. Others were not different from them. There was so much smoke in the air, from the cigarettes. The foul odour emitting from this and the liquor, pervaded the surroundings. They were all no longer in control of themselves. It is usually like that for them everyday. They come there to enjoy themselves. Yes, to enjoy themselves they say! But is that enjoyment?
In different places, I see men and women who claim to be enjoying themselves with sexual immorality, drunkenness, smoking, etc. How can somebody who really wants to enjoy life be engaging in these things if not because of the lies the devil has told them? The devil is helping men and women to destroy themselves or should I say men and women are cooperating with the devil to destroy their lives. Yet, they’re deceiving themselves that they’re enjoying their lives.
I see ladies going about near naked because they want to enjoy themselves. I see men drinking themselves to stupor because they want to enjoy themselves. I see young girls walk out on their parents because their parents would not allow them to enjoy themselves. I see young boys run away from home because their parents are ‘controlling’ their lives. “I’m an adult. Leave me; let me enjoy my life,” they tell their parents as they waste their lives with drugs, cultism, etc. But how long does it take before they realize they’re wrong?
You want to enjoy your life as a lady exploiting your beauty! Truly you’re a beauty Queen today! However, for how long do you think you can retain your crown? How long can you maintain your beauty and still be as beautiful as you are currently, even with all the cosmetics in the world? Just how long? Don’t you see that there is something more than beauty that God has given you?
Do you know that God really wants you to enjoy life? He does not have problem with you enjoying life. He actually wants you to enjoy life, but not in the path that Satan is leading you – the path of destruction. Unfortunately, that is the path that you’ve been deceived to believe is the best for you. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12, 16:25 NKJV).
How many more years do you think you still have for men to be running after you or for you to be running after them the way you’re doing? So, when they stop running after you or when they start running away from you as you are pursuing them, what will remain of your life? Will you not be full of regrets? Hear what the Bible says: “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Tim 5:6 NKJV).
Don’t let Satan cheat you
God wants you to enjoy life, but not the type the devil deceives people to believe is life. You will soon discover that you were fooled! You can’t enjoy the real life apart from God. You can’t enjoy the real life living in sin. You can’t enjoy the good life by living a life of pleasure, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, drugs, cultism, etc. All this will lead you to death. The good life is found only in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 NLT). Only Jesus can give you what you’ve been looking for, what Satan has been deceiving you to think he can give you. Satan is only stealing the good life from you. He is denying you the good life. God’s plan is that you’ll live life to the fullest, and until you come to Him, you can’t have it. Since you’ve been living your life the way you’ve been doing, can’t you see how miserable life has been for you? Can you, in all sincerity, say you have genuine life and peace? Are you pleased with the way you’re living your life? Be sincere. Do you want to enjoy genuine life and peace?
Master key to life and peace
Let me show you the master key to life and peace. Are you ready for it? Will you reject the lies of the devil all these years in your life? Lies that have ruined people’s lives, whether they want to admit it or not? They may be pretending, but they don’t have peace of mind; they’re not enjoying life at all. Will you believe what God is about to tell you? Rom 8:5-8 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (NKJV).
The key to enjoying life and peace from this scripture is to be spiritually minded. Verse 5 says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If you want to enjoy life and peace, be spiritually minded.
The next question will be “How can I be spiritually minded?” This is important because it is possible to be born again and not be spiritually minded. I’m speaking not only to those who’re not born again, but also to those who’re born again. Many claim to be born again but are dying inside; they don’t have peace. As long as someone is carnally minded, even if the person is a Christian, he/she will still harvest death! The Bible says to be carnally minded is death. How can I be carnally minded? How can I be spiritually minded?
Two steps to enjoying life and peace
Let me show you how through another translation of Rom 8:5-8 you read earlier. “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God” (Rom 8:5-8 NLT). From this Scripture, there are two steps to take to enjoy life and peace.
1.You must die to the sinful nature. How do you do this? – By giving your life to Jesus. Know that you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself. Believe that He died on the cross to save you and resurrected the third day. Confess Him as your Lord and Savior. “Salvation that comes from trusting Christ — which is the message we preach — is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, ‘The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.’ For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:8-9 NLT).
When Jesus died on the cross, that sinful nature was nailed to the cross; so the power of that sinful nature to control you has been defeated. When you embrace Jesus, you receive the power to live above that sinful nature. Are you ready to turn over your life to Jesus now? Confess and personalize or appropriate the words in Rom 10:8-9 above, and something miraculous will happen in your life right away. Pause to do that before you continue reading this message. Congratulations if you’ve done that. Phone me as soon as you finish reading this piece.
2. You must allow the Holy Spirit to control your mind. This second step is very crucial, and this is where even those who’re born again miss life and peace. Rom 8:6b says, “But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (NLT).You must allow the Holy Spirit to control your mind. Your mind is the battle ground. God wants to control your mind, and Satan wants to control your mind.
When Satan controls your mind, he’ll lead you to live according to sinful nature i.e to commit sin, which is doing what does not please God, and you can’t enjoy life and peace. “‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” (Isa 57:21 NKJV).
However, when the Holy Spirit controls your mind, he will lead you to set your mind on what the Spirit desires which is pleasing the LORD. A Christian, who has given his life to Christ but is not being controlled by the Spirit of God, will still fulfill the sinful desires of the human nature or the desire of the flesh.
What am I saying? Be born again; but beyond being born again, yield your mind to the total control of the Spirit of God. The more the Spirit of God controls your mind, the more you’ll live your life to please the LORD, the more the good life you’ll enjoy and the more the peace you’ll have.
Conclusion: Have you made Jesus the Lord of your life already? If you have, allow the Holy Spirit to control your mind. The starting point is to study your Bible, the Word of God, daily and obey it. That is how your Spirit is sensitized to God’s desire and the voice of the Spirit of God. The Word of God and Spirit of God usually agree.
Rom 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (NKJV). The phrase “be transformed” shows that you are not the one to transform yourself. God transforms your mind as you expose your mind to the Word of God and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. The transformation and renewing of your mind is a continuous process as you constantly expose your mind to the Word of God.
The New Living Translation makes Rom 12:2 clearer: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” As you give your life to Jesus and yield your mind to the total control of the Spirit of God, you’ll enjoy life and peace, which is the REAL LIFE, and it shall be well with you in Jesus’ name.
If you’re not born again, I want to urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your LORD and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess and forsake my sins today. I confess and forsake my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the LORD be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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