Devotion for the Week...
Friends of ours are moving this week, though only up the road from where they've been living. They've been waiting for the construction of their new house to be finished and, while there is still work to be done, they are finally able to move in. Paul and I have been helping them load up their truck, drive for about two minutes and then unload it again. They didn't demand that we help them, nor did they hint around until we
felt guilty enough that we agreed to help. We didn't even wait for them
to ask for help. Instead, we offered because we remember how much we
appreciated the help
we had when we moved from our apartment into our house 7 years ago. Obviously, they accepted our offer. It's a known fact that more bodies carrying boxes and furniture means the work gets done faster.
Knowing that we intended to offer to help them move, I was intrigued when I read this verse in Romans last week: "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 6:13). Offering to do something means you are making a choice. Whatever you are offering to do is not required of you, you are choosing to make yourself available for it should your offer be accepted. By saying "Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness," Paul is telling us that we have a choice.
Do you know that feeling that comes when you are about to do something you know is wrong, that feeling that says "maybe I shouldn't"? Right then, right when you get that feeling, that's when you make your choice. Do you offer yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, and do the thing you know is wrong, or do you offer yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness and refrain from doing it?
I would say most of us are too quick to make excuses for ourselves. We're too quick to say, "I couldn't help myself." Technically, of course, this is true. We can't help ourselves and that's why Jesus came to be our Savior and offer us salvation by faith in Him. However, often when we say, "I couldn't help myself," what we really mean is "It was inevitable." And that is not true.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). God will provide a way out, a way for us to choose not to give in to temptation, to choose not to sin. The question is, will we take it?
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." (Galatians 5:16-18). The Holy Spirit will lead us, if we are willing to listen and to follow. Following His lead will result in us not gratifying the desires of the flesh, meaning that we will not sin when we choose to follow His lead.
We don't like to think that we choose to sin. It's much more comfortable to think that it's inevitable and there's nothing we can do about it. But Paul didn't write "Don't give in to sin's demands." He didn't write "Don't listen when sin comes begging." Do not offer yourselves. Do not make yourself available. In fact, actively make yourself unavailable by consciously offering yourself to God.
Unfortunately, this isn't a one-time choice that we can make and be done. It's an ongoing, continuous choosing. So, are we making the right choices?