Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 

Romans 8:8,9

Devotional Thoughts

The Apostle Paul often confuses me with his formulas. There are a lot of conditional sentences in these verses, and frankly I am not sure what Paul is getting at after every turn. We can’t please God if we’re in the realm of the flesh. Ok, but that begs two questions: What is the realm of the flesh, and how do we know if we’re in it?

Then Paul reassures us and tells us that we’re not in the realm of the flesh, so long as the Spirit of God lives in us. Well, how do we know if the Spirit of God lives in us? The last sentence is a little confusing too. Is the Spirit of Christ the same as the Spirit of God? Either way, how do we know if we have this Spirit?

Memory Technique

8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ

Any Lord of the Rings fans? If so, you might recognize the acronym LOTR. That construction will come in handy today as we try to memorize these (once again) repetitive verses. It’s a good idea to come up with acronyms that are memorable to you for some reason, whether it’s a favorite childhood book series, or a favorite sport—whatever it is, it comes in handy to connect memory verses with ideas that are already familiar to you. So, for today’s verse, I constructed a LOTR spin off.

Extracting the bold letters/words from above, I came up with another call and response mnemonic. Incidentally, I think I quite like this call and response construction for memory purposes.

RoTF? Please, God (worried). Not, RoTF; RoTS! Ily (relieved).

You’ll notice that I try to connect the acronyms with emotions. I also took advantage of a well known acronym of affection: Ily, for “I love you.” In this case, it stands for “if, lives, you.”

In the next mnemonic, we learn that people didn’t have primary footwear a few millennia ago:

No soc(k) BC (or “Before Christ”)

Thus,

RoTF? Please, God. Not, RoTF; RoTS! Ily. + No soc before Christ = Romans 8:8,9.

A word on routine

I take weekly sabbaths on Saturdays (I wrote about this yesterday, before I accidentally deleted everything). Sabbaths are an important part of life in general and an important part of memorization/skill acquisition in particular. When you actively focus on something, you’re only lighting up a small proportion of you mind, like the prefrontal cortex (I think). That’s great for short-term memory and all, but it’s not great for incorporating learned skills into who you are as a person. If you take a break from actively thinking about something, the you allow the subconscious parts of your mind to chew on it. These parts are deeper, and they’ll engrain the memory verses more deeply into your mind.

So, every day it’s good to force yourself to recall the verse. It’s good to force yourself to recall the whole chapter you’re working on at least once a day as well. This will teach you the rudiments. But the subconscious mind will work wonders even as you sleep.

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