Scripture: Romans 6:12-23
Observation: Do not allow sin to control your life, Paul says. Embrace the freedom of God’s grace, and don’t become a slave to your own evil desires. He reminds us that when we were slaves to sin, we did things that led to “eternal doom.” Instead, allow yourself to be a slave to the righteousness of God and obey all of his ways.
Application: If you are under age 30 and can read this passage without hearing Britney Spears’ “I’m a slave 4 U” in your head, then you are officially a better woman than I am. In my defense, I was nine when Britney came out with her self-titled album that featured “Soda Pop” and it was fun and innocent and I listened to it on a cassette while I rolled up my Catholic school skirt and attempted to make my “Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary” oxford shirt into a belly shirt and put my hair in pigtails a la Britney in 2000. (Side note: I’m terrified to someday parent a daughter. GAH!) I’d say “those were the days,” but those totally weren’t the days…unless you count that brief time when Britney and Justin were together and they wore that denim outfit and all was right with the world because the king and queen of pop were in L-O-V-E! Now those were the days, my friends.
Obviously I’m kidding. They were totally not the days. The time of the JT and Jimmy Fallon lip sync battles – now those are the days. Wait, why am I talking about "the days"? How old am I?
BACK TO THE BIBLE. That is what we’re here for. (But we’re also here to have fun and laugh, so go ahead and just laugh. If you know me, take a second and picture me bopping around in my pseudo-Britney outfit with a cassette tape in my portable Walkman with those cheap, foam-y headphones on and then TRY NOT TO LAUGH. Pretty sure that’s impossible. I was a weirdo.)
Okay, the Bible. Fo realz this time.
Paul warns us not to become slaves to sin over and over again in these verses. Don’t let sin control you. Don’t give into sinful desires. Don’t let any part of your body become an instrument for evil. Read verses 12 through 14 again. He is intense about this sin thing. He’s not joking around here. He’s got a message he wants us to hear.
We all know about the “B-I-G” sins, the ones that tear apart relationships, families, our bodies, ourselves. Yes, those are bad, and we need to avoid them. But I believe that’s not the only kind of sin Paul is referring to. I think he’s talking about all kinds of sins, big and small, and maybe even more importantly, all of the little things that add up to causing sin in our lives. It’s not black and white but sometimes it looks like this:
Watching impure shows leads to impure thoughts leads to impure actions.
Being around people who enjoy gossip leads to unwholesome thoughts leads to unwholesome words.
Endlessly scrolling through social media leads to a never-ending comparison trap leads to feeling like we’ll never be satisfied until we have “more” leads to greed.
Going out to a bar with friends to “have a good time” leads to two drinks leads to four drinks leads to blacked out and burnt out from feeling like that.
I know it’s not always that cut and dry but maybe some of those examples reveal some truth in your life today. They do in mine.
I think it’s why Paul tells us so clearly to use our whole bodies as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Avoid things that can lead to sin, that tempt you and taunt you and someday just haunt you. Don’t become a slave to those things; don’t even let one part of your body or mind become tied up in them. Get yourself free. Because when slaves are free, they run as fast as they can towards freedom.
“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.”
You are free. Don’t let you keep yourself from experiencing that freedom, that holiness and eternity that accompanies a truly submitted relationship with God. Whatever part of your life today that leads even just a little bit to a place you know God doesn’t want you to go, then don’t go. It might be hard, but you can do it because you have the power of Christ Jesus living in you. He is bigger than your addiction, than your struggle, than your broken relationship, and he’s here to give you eternal life. Through slavery to Christ Jesus, you will find freedom.
So, run towards that freedom and as fast as you can away from anything that threatens it. He’ll be at the finish line cheering you on.
Prayer: God, help me break free from the sin that’s in my life. Help me first recognize the things that are leading me down the wrong path and reconcile them with you. I pray you will help me find freedom and live as a true slave to you and your righteousness. Amen.