This life does not allow the flesh to manifest itself; and you can't do that except by the Spirit. Do we have trouble with the deeds of the flesh? We shouldn't. If we are children, we are responding. He said that the Spirit will mortify the deeds of the flesh. You can't do it. I'm not speaking about positive thinking. This must be a reality, the working of the Spirit in each of our lives. There's no sense in going along endlessly thinking that something else will accomplish it. We may know how to talk well, we may know how to present a good appearance to the world, we may have our terminology perfected, but it won't make a bit of difference unless we are experiencing the reality.
God has not changed. He wants each one of us to get low enough so that He may exalt us. That place is being low enough in your own eyes so that you are no longer struggling. No longer trying to keep up, no longer trying to do things for God. Yes, we know better than this. But we find ourselves doing it anyway, don't we? We will, unless we are willing to admit where we are, and see what God has done for us. We will have to cut away some of those things that continue to hinder us, and God will give us the understanding of what to do, if we will listen to Him.
There's an expression in the 14th verse of Romans 8, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God"--this is the criterion--"they are the sons of God." Who are sons? Those that just go along? No, those that are led by the Spirit--that have new life springing forth, all from God. The Spirit of God came and quickened this mortal flesh. He gave you the ability now to know Him. You did not have that ability within yourself, but He has given you that ability.
We don't know God by our minds, although there are many mind religions in the world today. Men try to seek God with their minds in many different ways; they try to sense God in their imaginations. But there is only one reality and that is God himself, as we wait upon Him. Now we don't have to look for Him somewhere outside ourselves. He has come to abide. For as many as will believe, He is the very source of life. Everything is being brought back into conformity to the image of Christ. God will be all in all.
We know this in theory--that Christ will be all in all--but we cannot comprehend that in our natural minds. We are going to experience it when we start to move in relationship with God by the Spirit.
Look at the 15th verse: "For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear..." What does this mean? We are now no longer under the penalty of death, no longer separated from God. We've been made alive, not brought into the bondage of "do's and don'ts." We are brought into the life of Christ.
Any of us may have our little lists of do's and don'ts. but completely apart from these, those that are led by the Spirit will fulfill the righteous demands of the law. We don't have to worry about lists of do's and don'ts. If we walk in the Spirit, if He is working in us as we are in union with Him, we'll fulfill all the righteousness that God demands from us, and it will not be our own doing.
See verse 26: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities..." God knows that we are weak. Don't dwell on it; dwell on Him. He knows our infirmities. The Spirit helps our infirmities. Continually, brother. "For we know not what we should pray..." We can't even pray aright! You cannot pray with your mind; you must pray with the unction of the Holy Spirit, with His anointing and leading. And there are times when we do not even comprehend with our minds how to pray--and there He is to help our weaknesses. With the manifestation of tongues, God has made provision whereby we can pray in every situation.
There is a place of prayer that is not even in the realm of words. It is a groaning somewhere down in our spirits--the Holy Spirit making intercession. Verse 27: "He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Everything is centered on one thing, and that is the will of God. My will is now being exercised in His will.
Is this question running through your mind: "Am I a puppet?" You have been made for God. God didn't make the animals for Himself; He made you. As a puppet? No. He made you with a choice. As you start to experience Him, He fills you with His love. Right here and now we are being prepared for eternity. We could say that when we moved into the life of the Spirit of God, eternity moved into our consciousness. From this point on, we are being prepared for something that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard." (I Cor. 2:9) We cannot even conceive of such a thing in our natural minds--but He has prepared us for something that is eternal.
In this new life, we are no longer dependent upon ourselves. We are in this world, but not of this world. We are not lusting, not desiring for our own selves. Many of us can't comprehend this. The reason we can't is that we are trying to live the Christian life in our own natural strength and ability. We have a misunderstanding of this area, and think that if we don't "get up and do something," we'll end up sitting back, not making a living, and not getting anything done for God. Paul said, "If any man will not work, do not let him eat." So there's no need to worry about that. But the reason we have so many failures when we get up and try to do something for God is that so many times we're living for ourselves, out of ourselves, rather than living for His purpose, out of Christ. This may be caused by the sin of unbelief; it may be that we have turned to our own understanding.