5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 NET
What is shaping your outlook on life? Is it the things you have or want to have? Do you find that your friends, family, or co-workers shape how you view things? Maybe it is your pastor or other spiritual leaders that has a great influence on the shaping of your outlook. Maybe you are trying to shape your outlook on life yourself and attempting to mold it into what you perceive to be the best outlook. Paul presents a simple yet powerful concept here in this passage. If we live in the flesh we will be shaped by it. Conversely if we live in the spirit we will be shaped by the things of the Spirit. Which is shaping you today? Obviously all believers would desire to be shaped and molded by the Spirit over the flesh but this is a difficult objective to achieve.
So how can we live to insure that our lives and our outlook on life is shaped by the Spirit? First, we must spend time in prayer with the Spirit. Our prayer time must exceed a few brief moments at the dinner table. Instead, we must set our minds on the things of God and channel our prayers heavenward constantly throughout our day. Next, we must read the word of God each day and allow it to transform our lives. Paul said this in 2 Timothy 3:16–17 NET 16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. God’s word is useful and helps shape our lives and our outlook on life in general but it only works if we read it. Finally, I would implore you to spend time with other believers who have dedicated their own lives to living in the Spirit and being shaped by the Spirit. Proverbs 27:17 NET correctly declares that iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend. Notice that Paul said we must live in the Spirit in order to be shaped by it. This perhaps is our biggest challenge and the great lesson of this text. We will never be shaped by the Spirit by simply spending a few moments on Sunday in the Spirit. We must instead commit our lives to living in the Spirit, walking with the spirit and being transformed and changed through the spirit. If your current outlook on life leaves you unsatisfied, allow the spirit to shape your outlook in the days ahead.