"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
What is the nature of the flesh, it's personality? There's no doubt about it-- we are humans. We are not gnostic in our faith, separating the physical from the spiritual. Instead, we need to realize the real effect and purpose of these things. The flesh has desires and they can be hard to deal with.
I know as I've read through the Bible, this passage has always been very encouraging. It gave me resolve to do better, to be an instrument of righteousness. The sermon though gave greater insight into just how I should go about conquering sin in this oh-so-annoying and needy body of mine.
What are some objective facts about the flesh? The flesh can think, feel, and will. Ephesians 2:3 speaks about not fulfilling the lust (desires) of the flesh. We usually think of lust as having a negative connotation, but in these passages, it simply means desires. The flesh has desires about everything. You know what you feel like doing, but that's not always what's best. We can look forward to the glorification that is to come, the time in our future lives when we will see Christ face-to-face and be removed from our fleshly desires. The flesh we have is a residue, our old tent as 2nd Corinthians 5 speaks about. But in Christ, it does not have to have dominion over you!
Paul says in these verses, "do not present your members as instruments (tools) of unrighteousness"-- don't allow the flesh to use your body to fulfill it's own purposes. You know when you really feel like just giving someone a piece of your mind? And if you do give in to your fleshly desire and give them a good tongue lashing, your conscience pricks you, doesn't it? That's because you're a Christian and you know deep down you lost that battle. We are not to yield to sin, but to God.
The objective fact of knowing we are in union with Christ becomes our motivation for obedience to God's ways. But, this union should not cause us to become passive in our living in Christ. We cannot just "wait on God to move me" towards obedience. We have to work for it too. Yes, objectively, we are saved and Christ filfilled our duty, but we need to invest this grace in our lives. Apply it.
The Lord is either Lord of your life or not at all. The mind says walk and the legs follow. Think of a toddler learning to walk. At first, every step is a struggle and they fall over and over again. They may not be thinking consciously, "put one foot in front of the other", but they know they want what's across the room. As they begin walking, they get stronger and stronger with practice. Likewise, as we begin walking in the Spirit, we will grow stronger. Soon we won't have to think about it. I bet you haven't thought about how to make your legs take you where you want them to go today. You've matured, grown, practiced. Our brains say "go over there" and our legs follow. Such it is when we practice surrendering our lives to Christ, willing to fall along the way. By the power of the Spirit, God will say "walk this way" and we won't even have to think about it-- our legs will follow.
When we fall in our sin, we need to be hard on ourselves. Call our sin what God calls it. We shouldn't say, "That's just who I am" because, well, yeah, that is who you are! But it isn't who you are called to be. No whitewashing. This is really, really hard for me. We need to confess and turn to the gospel.
Verse 12 says not to let sin reign, but verse 14 leaves us with hope-- sin shall not reign. Why? Because of our great assurance that sin no longer has dominion over us. As we trust in the objective fact of who we are in Christ, we can stop yeilding ourselves as members, tools, of unrighteousness. As a toddler learns, so will we. We will get stronger. We will never be perfect in this life, but as we grow in Christ, we will develop instincts that help us to resist the desires of the flesh. Walk by faith and obey, and God will use our lives as tools, weapons, for His righteousness. Thank God for the grace He has given that we might have decisive, repentant actions.
Cardigan: Forever21: $15
Tank: Arizona Brand: $6
Boots: Shoe Carnival: $35
Pearl set: Gift
Headcovering: Simple lace wrapped around my head 3 times. I ran out of time to curl my hair 'cause I couldn't find an outfit to wear. :P
ModeEsty.com yesterday that I can't wait to share with y'all! I hope you've had a good week-- I'm so sorry for not getting this post up sooner. I'm dealing with seasonal allergies that zap my energy in addition to a busy schedule. :-/
I would love to hear what your sermon was about! Or how your week is going! Blessings!