It Feels Like Conflict
What is life in the Spirit like? Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they were a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 2:4). They didn’t get saved by fancy speech but through God’s supernatural work. Their change was like a recommendation letter, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). They were being transformed into the glorious image of Christ, and “this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Also, all who believe “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (the second part of Romans 8:15). But again, what is that life like?
The salvation and transformation and adoption are sweet, but we are still in a battle. There is a tenderness in the relationship with our Father in heaven, but why is it so significant that the Spirit makes it so that we can cry out to Him? In context it’s because we must be putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). This shows that we are “led by the Spirit of God” as His sons (verse 14). And this is because we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear” (the first part of verse 15).
We cannot live according to the flesh, we must not, or we will die (verse 13). How do we do it? We fight for righteousness by the Spirit who reminds us that we are children of the Father. We need the reminding because this is spiritual warfare, and the flesh and sin opposes us. It doesn’t “feel” good, it feels like conflict. Because it is. And it is what spiritual life is like.