Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 8:1-11 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “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 8:9).
Here in Verse 9, Paul presents another conditional statement based on the statement of fact in Verse 1. There is no condemnation because of what Christ has done, but one can become condemned if they step outside of Christ. We remain in Christ as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Paul then makes a statement of fact and encouragement to those in the church at Rome. He says, “You are not in the flesh.” But, he offers the condition, “If in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Paul repeats this to the church at Corinth in his first letter: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
It is this Spirit that Paul implies causes us to belong to Christ. Belonging to Christ gives us access to a few things.
Galatians 3:29: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Belonging to Christ means adoption into a new family. As a result we are now heirs to the promises of God. Everything that God has promised is ours to claim.
Galatians 5:24: “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Belonging to Christ means no longer having to live according to the flesh or having to submit to the desires of the flesh. It means that the victory won by Jesus will be made manifest in your life.
I Corinthians 15:22-23: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.”
Because we belong to Him, we now have access not only to the promises of God in this life but also to the promise of God of eternal life.
You belong to Jesus! He has paid the debt, fulfilled the law, and provided His Spirit so that He may dwell within you and you in Him. Your struggles, issues, and flaws are His responsibility. He promises that the good work that He has started in you He will bring to completion (Philippians 1:6). All you have to do is walk. Just as with the rich young ruler, Christ bids you to follow Him. Walk in His Spirit; be faithful until the end, and He shall give you a crown of life.
Recalibrate: What does it mean to belong to Jesus? How is God’s ownership different from man’s ownership?
Respond: Make a contract and literally sign your life over to Jesus. Ask God to take your life and heart, to give you His heart, to help you to love others, and walk in His Spirit.
Research: Read Christ’s Object Lessons Chapter 25, “Talents.”
Remember: “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, ESV).
Kory P. Douglas is the youth director for the Central States Conference in Kansas City, Kansas. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where he previously served as a Bible teacher. Kory has a beautiful family comprised of his wife Kimberly, daughter Carsyn Rei (2), and son Noah Kai (10 months). He loves God and young people, and wants to see everyone become the best version of themselves they can be.
Place a blanket on the floor and, using scarves or string, make a big love heart shape that you and your child can sit in. Talk about how love grows from the inside out. Tell your little one how much you love them and why. Ask them about who they love and why. Tell them that Jesus wants to live in their heart, that being with us is Jesus’ favorite place to be.
The Bible says, in Romans 8:5, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” The Spirit Paul is talking about is the Holy Spirit, described as Jesus living inside our hearts. What does the Bible tell us the Spirit desires? Look up Galatians 5:22. When you see this kind of love, you know that the Holy Spirit is living there. Think about what it looks like, feels like, sounds like to be full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you want to, you can ask the Spirit to move you, just like the wind did the paper, so we can see Jesus in you.
A few years ago, I worked at a summer camp in Colorado. During my first summer, my friend shared with me that the book of Revelation terrified her. She explained that she knew it had the happy ending of an eternal life in heaven, but the way it described the destruction of the wicked scared her. So we made a decision to start our Saturday morning differently. We woke up at 4:00 a.m., packed blankets, pillows, and our Bibles, and walked up to a viewing tower. We sat there and watched the sun rise behind the beautiful Rocky Mountains. As it rose, we took turns reading Revelation 21 and 22 out loud. We felt chills. We cried happy tears. We prayed for each other and recommitted our lives to God that day. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I could have gone up by myself, but it was even more special because I shared the experience with my dear friend. Pick a friend with whom you’ll talk about the Bible. Share your questions, your fears, your love of Jesus. Pray together. Keep each other accountable. If you don’t have a friend you can do this with, find one in a community of faith.