Hello! Below is the text for today -- first is the NIV translation, and second is from The Message translation. Find a quiet place today to read and re-read the text – let it sink in. How does it correspond with the message we heard on Sunday to live with our new Identity, and then take Action? Romans 6:16-18
New International Version
16 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? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
Well, after reading the NIV version, I didn’t like that I was being reminded that I am a slave to the evil one when I live life the “kristi” way. My first reaction was, “I’m not like him at all…”. Wrong. Pride, selfishness with my time, etc. claims me more than I care to admit. Reading further, the text reminds me, convicts me, that through Jesus’ suffering, death and his resurrection, I’m no longer a slave, and I don’t fall under the “spell” of the evil one. Whew! That sounds much better. I LIKE my new identity!
Then, after reading The Message, I was convicted yet again! Yes, all my life I have “let sin tell me what to do”. I’ve had brief, shining moments, when I’m Acting out of this new Identity, but inevitably I fall back into old, familiar, comfortable habits. At least, they feel comfortable until I suffer the consequences of my poor choices, the leading of my heart with my feeble mind, instead of following my new Identity. It reminds me of the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt – they were so thankful/grateful for their freedom, but for 40 years, vacillated between following God’s commands and following their own desires. God clearly loves us so much he gave us this freedom (by the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection), this new freedom of Identity that we can use to put the evil one behind us, and live our lives Acting like it. It’s a different, more “responsible” freedom than the freedom our current society tries to tell us is good. This new kind of freedom has positive, eternal consequences that are so exciting!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the new Identity that you have freely and gracefully given to me through Jesus Christ. Help me to remember every day that this freedom is to be used in my Actions at home, at work, everywhere I go. Help me to show with my Actions the hope that I have in You, so that the people around me will want to know You more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.