April 16, 2020 • Life for Leaders
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Romans 8:11 (NRSV)
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
This is the fourth devotion in the Life for Leaders series called “Easter and COVID-19.” I’m seeking to answer the question: How does the resurrection of Jesus matter as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis? You can read this series from the beginning here.
As I’ve reflected on how the resurrection of Jesus makes a difference in a world currently dominated by the coronavirus, Romans 8 has been central in my thoughts. Beginning today, I’m going to write a few Life for Leaders devotions based on this watershed chapter of Scripture. In another season, I could imagine spending a couple of months working through this chapter with you. But now I want to focus specifically on how Romans 8 helps us live faithfully in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul has much to say about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Though we are embodied beings, we are not defined by our fleshly, sinful nature. Rather, we are “in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in [us]” (Romans 8:9). What difference does this make? Plenty! We read in verse 11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”
Notice that God is described here as the one “who raised Jesus from the dead.” The death-defeating, life-giving power of God is central both to God’s nature and to our experience of God. This experience is centered in the Holy Spirit who is both “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus” and the “Spirit that dwells in you.” Through the indwelling Spirit, God “will give life to your mortal bodies.” Though our bodies are mortal because of sin, we will one day be raised when the Spirit gives eternal life to us.
How does this verse speak to us in the midst of the coronavirus crisis? First, it offers the promise of life beyond this life. In a time when we are more aware than usual of our mortality, when we are reminded of the fact that we will die, it’s reassuring to know that physical death is not the end for us. We will be raised into the life of the age to come, when disease and death are no more.
Second, Romans 8:11 reminds us that the Spirit of life dwells in us right now. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. Now, this does not mean that we are protected from all suffering. But it does mean that, no matter what we face in this life, God is with us, and not just with us, but within us through his Spirit. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is right there—with us, in us, surrounding us, empowering us, and giving us confident hope for the future.
Something to Think About:
How have you experienced the presence and power of God’s Spirit in your life?
How might the reality of the indwelling Spirit make a difference as you deal with the multiple threats of the coronavirus?
Something to Do:
Talk with your small group (virtually) or with a Christian friend about your experience of the Holy Spirit.
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of your Spirit, dwelling within us. Thank you for the promise of eternal life through the Spirit. Help me, I pray, to live with confident hope in the future you have for me. Plus, in this day, may I be attentive to the presence of your Spirit within me. May I live today by your power and for your purposes. Amen.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Living According to the Spirit Leads to a New Quality of Life (Romans 8:1–14)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.