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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Flesh and Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though 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 from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. ~ Romans 8:1-11

Here's the problem with the way this passage is translated.

Your body is beautiful.

God made your body, and God declared it good. Somewhere along the line we have taken Paul's words here about flesh vs. spirit and turned them into something I don't believe they were intended to be.

Instead I love how Eugene Peterson in his Message translation sees this passage: it isn't our physical bodies that are the problem. It is our obsession with ourselves.

Or as Richard Rohr puts it, it is our own egos.

The Spirit of God enlivens, but we so frequently get caught up in our selves, our lives, our problems, our sense of entitlement, that we miss it. We don't see the life that is offered to us - that is indeed within us - when we are focused on our externals and our self-righteousness.

God made your body, and God declared it good. God declared you good. It isn't your body that's the problem.

It's our obsession with it. It's our need to put our bodies, our selves, before others and before God. It is ignoring the Spirit that dwells in us.

God made your body, and God declared it good.

All that's left to do is live life as if we remember that.

Your Spirit dwells within me. Move me to notice it and to live a life that shows it. Amen

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