“If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” (Romans 8:13)
To live according to the flesh is to ignore God. Living according to the flesh is to be solely concerned about the gratification of the flesh, pleasure, and physical passions. St. Paul explains in another passage the things associated with living according to the flesh
“Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
If any of these things exist in my life, it means I am living according to the flesh and it is an indication that I would not inherit the kingdom of God. The death St. Paul talks about in our first reading today is death to eternal life; death to the glories of heaven.
Living by the Spirit is putting to check the flesh and its desires; it is allowing the commandments of God to guide us daily, even more, living by the spirit is not merely obeying the commandments of God, it is living by the spirit of these commandments, going beyond the mere letter.
Jesus condemns the ruler of the synagogue in today’s Gospel passage because of his hypocrisy; he was simply concerned about the letter of the law of God rather than the Spirit which is the love of God and love for neighbour.
When we live according to the Spirit, that is only when we can call ourselves children of Abraham and as children of Abraham Jesus would not allow us to suffer. As we see in our Gospel passage, Jesus was willing to cure a woman who was bent over for eighteen years even on a Sabbath day because she too was a child of Abraham.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to conquer my flesh. Amen.
Bible Study: Romans 8:12-17, Ps. 68:2,4,6-7,20-21, Luke 13:10-17)