“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.” ~Romans 6:12-13
Before I get into this post, I have to say something: I love Rebekah M and Rebekah L. I love them for their insight, and also for their transparency and courage in putting their own lives, circumstances, and struggles out in the open that others may be encouraged through their blog posts. And lately the theme of all of our posts has been that of a daily struggle – to daily choose God in favor of the world. It’s a struggle I sincerely relate to, and I’m sure you do too. We may not all share the same sins (though we probably share more than you think!), but we probably do all share that underlying fight to choose God in all things.
According to Romans 6, we should be able to overcome sin. We should be able to live free of its hold…and yet, look at us. Our flesh is indeed weak. Even Romans 6 mentions human limitations. It also mentions something else: “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).Clearly, we are given a choice. Yes, a daily choice. We are given a choice of whom we shall serve today. And sometimes we even choose God for the entire day. Sometimes we choose sin. Most often, we choose a mix of both – there are 24 whole hours in a day, after all.
Luckily, Romans 6 offers us one last bit of hope in this earthly struggle we face: “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). The meaning here is pretty simple. We are saved by grace, we live eternally under grace, and so we should be impervious to sin. The kicker is, we’re not. We all know that. And the reason is pretty simple: we didn’t save ourselves. We didn’t find our own righteousness. We didn’t grant ourselves eternal life. We are not the ones with the grace. We merely benefit from it.
The One who has the grace offers it to us freely. It is ours to take it, if we only choose it. Day by day, moment by moment, if we choose to walk in that grace it is ours. With the grace comes strength. Yes, we are made of flesh and flesh is weak. Flesh will ultimately decay. But the grace from which we claim our salvation came from Jesus Christ, the One who defeated flesh. For Him, there was no decay. For Him, there was death, and it was conquered. He was powerful enough to conquer death itself, and had the grace to save us too. And that’s the cool part. As He gave us His grace, we can also access His power. And that power does indeed help us conquer sin.
Yes, flesh is weak, and we have a daily struggle. The fact that I’m writing a post about this certainly doesn’t make me any more righteous. All I’m saying is that Jesus knows we have a struggle. And He knew it 2000 years ago. And He gives us access to Himself so that we don’t have to struggle alone. Through Him, we have grace to live eternally. Through Him, we have the strength to win the fight against temptation and sin. So often, we find ourselves tempted by sin, and we find ourselves turning away from God. It’s kind of like the child raiding the cookie jar. If Mom doesn’t see us in action, we don’t get caught. Trust me: mom noticed. Whether you were in trouble or not, you were most certainly caught.
There’s nothing we can truly hide from God. We have His full attention all of the time. So when we hide from Him or stop seeking Him out so that He doesn’t see our impure thoughts….we aren’t blocking His view. We’re blocking ours. We’re preventing ourselves from accessing the one source of strength that’s powerful enough to help us defeat this temptation, instead of giving into it and repenting later. The moments of temptation are expected. The draw of sin and the struggle to defeat it is expected. And God has mercy on it, and will help us through it. But we have to let Him.
It’s not just a matter of choosing daily to follow God’s will. It’s also a matter of choosing Him to move in us and help us defeat the things that would pull us away from Him in the first place. It’s a daily choice to follow God in action, and to press into Him in our hearts – to allow Him to refine us. So often we deal with the sin as it comes up. Especially if it’s habitual. We just chalk it up to having a weak moment, tell Jesus we’re sorry, and we go on with our day. And that’s ok. That’s going to happen sometimes. But what we also need to do is be inviting Jesus into the center of our hearts before the moment of temptation ever comes, to take that preemptive strike against sin and allow Him to give us a new heart that truly, truly desires Him more.
Jesus, I pray for You to move in me. Come into my heart, my whole heart, even the dark corners that are cloaked in shame from the ongoing struggles that I too have. Come into those places especially God. Grant me wisdom on why I’m tempted and grant me strength to overcome it, but most of all Jesus, I pray that you take the root of my weakness and replace it with the new heart you have for me. Remake me stronger in You. I desire to desire You. I know I will have to do work too, but I depend on You for help and strength. I praise You that You are a mighty and merciful God, and I give thanks for Your grace. I love You Jesus – help me to love You with my whole heart.
Join me and the other Rebekahs in choosing God daily, on an even deeper level. And know that I’m praying for you. And of course, if you have specific prayer requests or things you’re struggling with, feel free to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!