Did you grow up in the church? I did. And I know that when we do, that affects our perception of Christianity.
We learn all the things that you say- the words of our faith- from a young age, but I believe that sometimes we can overlook- or never really fully embrace- the heart of what salvation truly means.
I was listening to a sermon this morning- and He (the pastor) said, we are all in slavery- the whole human race. We are either in slavery to sin, or to God. There are no other options.
We either choose to live our lives trying to use anything but God to meet our needs-to satisfy us- or we accept salvation and choose God.
I think sometimes when we grow up in the church, we forget what we have been saved from- and how God longs for us to not just try to be “good people” or to live a “good life” but to strive for holiness.
Because if we are not fighting against sin, then we are not moving closer to God. Do you find yourself comfortable?
Sometimes we can find a sort of stasis- we acknowledge that God is good and try to be good- but we also are hanging on to some habitual sins- they have become part of our daily life.
We have accommodated them, and don’t really even notice their presence anymore. Then, suddenly- tragedy strikes- or a crisis occurs- and we are thrown out of this stasis into a sudden striving toward God- we recognize our need for Him and we pray and maybe start reading His Word- and we are seeking wise counsel- because we are scared by the circumstances of our life and we believe that God can help fix it.
But the answer may be long in coming. Maybe it takes years to be resolved. Andrew Murray suggests in his book Waiting on God that when those times occur sometimes it may be that God is desperately trying to win your heart- and He knows that when circumstances get tough- you will come to Him.
And He doesn’t just want to spend time with you when everything in your life is thrown into chaos- He wants to be with us everyday- to transform us day by day- to give us a lasting peace- to satisfy abundantly all our wants and needs- to bring eternal blessings.
But as long as we keep believing that the sins we use to fill our life will satisfy- and we fail to seek God instead- we are choosing sin as our master instead of God.
As I listened to this sermon this morning, I thought of so many things that I use to try to fill myself instead of God- times in my life when I intentionally sought sin- deceiving myself into thinking that God did not know what is best for my life.
And how else can we explain participating in behaviors that leave us constantly feeling guilt and shame afterwards- yet we return to them time and time again?
Unless we fill ourselves with more of Christ- sin will effectively deceive, manipulate, and destroy us. Because that is what Satan longs to do. To convince us to waste our days chasing after mirages and missing what really satisfies-God and God alone.
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So when did I finally stop going from stasis to crisis to stasis again? What was the agent of change in my own life?
When my children were born, the place where I once hid all those habits that I didn’t want anyone else to see- where I could let my guard down and not “try so hard” became a place where all my faults were suddenly exposed in graphic ugliness.
I saw how it affected my children- and suddenly my hunger for God went from wanting an occasional snack to a desire to feast.
I felt raw and exposed- I knew that no one else could help me but God- what I wanted only He could give me.
Our diet can’t be sips of God supplemented with sin.
God longs to give us so much more. Lasting peace, not just following the rules but a change of heart- humility under God’s Lordship.
And what a blessing to be a slave to the greatest Love the world has ever known. To one who knows us, He created us- He sent His Son to die for us.
I pray that today we will respond in exultation to the gift God has poured out in abundance in our lives.