Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Romans 8:8–9, esv).
Sometimes, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that the Christian life feels hard. Life hurts, following Christ feels difficult, and we feel defeated.
But the Christian life isn’t just hard; it’s impossible.
Day after day we face the bombardment of the enemy and fail to recognize that, on our own, we have no chance of experiencing victory, no hope for lasting personal change. Living like Christ is not difficult; it’s impossible.
We need power. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” Paul declared (Romans 8:8). In ourselves, we have no resources to follow Jesus. No strength to be like Christ. No energy to serve Him or to lead our families as God expects us to. No power to change ourselves. Surely your own experience verifies the fact that sheer will power cannot conquer sin. On our own, living like Christ is not difficult; it’s impossible.
But great power awaits us. After the bad news of Romans 8:8 comes a promising transition: “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (8:8–9a, emphasis added). That “however” signals hope—God’s Spirit is ready to give you the power to change.
There’s the power! The reason we have this life-giving Spirit in us is to power the righteousness God desires to produce in us.
Maybe you’re wondering exactly how much power is available. Romans 8:11 tells us the answer: “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.” Paul said, in essence, “Are you curious how much power God has made available to change you? Go to Easter morning! The same power that lifted Jesus Christ from the grave—the greatest victory of all time—is the same power that lives in you.”
This is the greatest power because it conquered the worst enemy, Satan, and because it solved the most terrible problem, sin. The kind of power available to help you change is the very power that brought our Savior back from the dead. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ is able to help you be the person God wants you to be, right now, this moment, ready to turbo your victory.
Our mortal bodies can’t get victory over anything—but the Spirit who dwells in us gives us life. The power to change comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Not by our efforts. Not by our will power. Not by our talents or schemes or support systems. We can only change through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father God, thank You that You do not leave us as orphans; instead You give us the Holy Spirit—the “Helper, to be with [us] forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16–18). Without Him I cannot live the Christian life. Without Him I can’t change or be the person You want me to be, but with Him, I have access to the very power that raised Jesus from the dead. I need You, and by faith I choose to believe that You love me, You want to change me, and You will provide the power for that change through Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in my heart. I pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.