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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Enslaved or Empowered?

Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you have obeyed with all your heart the new teaching God has given you. Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness. I speak this way, using the illustration of slaves and masters, because it is easy to understand. Before, you let yourselves be slaves of impurity and lawlessness. Now you must choose to be slaves of righteousness so that you will become holy. In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren't concerned with doing what was right. And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:16-23 NLT)

...if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13b TNIV)

So let me ask you this.  If you wanted to quit that bad habit, could you?

All too often, I find myself talking to faith-filled people who live their lives as though they are already defeated.  "I wish I could fix... I wish I could stop...  It's just so hard to...  Well, I'm never going to be able to change this cause we're always going to sin, right?"  "You don't have to," I would often answer.  My response was almost universally met with a blank stare.  I don't know why that statement is so hard for people to process, but it is a truth that God clearly communicates to us over and over again.

As believers, saved by Grace, God has also given us the gift of His Spirit.  His Spirit is far greater in power than any other being - seen or unseen.  "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else."  (James 1:13 NLT)  Since the greatest power of all time (God) now dwells in us, we have the same power Jesus had when he was being tempted to turn away from the Father - and won.  Now, we can win too.  We have been empowered!

You see, the choice is ours now.  We might have been out-gunned, out-numbered, or overwhelmed before, but now we have the power to those thoughts (and the bringer of those thoughts) out.  Now we can choose to obey God.  Now we can choose to become slaves to righteousness - only following it's orders.  Now we can choose to put to death the misdeeds of the body through the power he has given us - the power of His Spirit.

His Spirit dwells in us to give us the power to overcome such things.  God "backs up" our decisions to do what is good, right and Holy.  He doesn't "back us up" when we choose to do what is bad, wrong, or sin.  We used to choose such things.  We became slaves to those things.  But now we have been empowered to break free from such things.  Go for it.  Use the power you've been given...to walk together with God.