Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Romans 6: 13

Now make no mistake about this, the work of transformation in our bodies is done by Christ. However, we are willing participants in this process of change. God has never wanted people to enter into a relationship with Him through compulsion or by means of coercion or force. There are beneficial consequences that come about when we do surrender ourselves to Christ, and there are also correspondingly negative ones if we reject or deny Him. Yet, even these earthly and eternal out workings of our relationship with God do not carry with them the idea of force or of compulsion. Just as we will live throughout our days here and on through the expanse of eternity with our decision regarding the person and the nature of Christ, so too we are allowed to freely choose to follow Christ or to not do so.

This is not just a singular or momentary choice, either. We will continually encounter decisions that involve our desires and will and their conformity to or deviation from God’s Word and His will. For, in all honesty, most people want to think, say, and do things that are pleasing to ourselves but not so to God, that are momentarily pleasurable for our bodies but are contrary to God’s law of truth and grace, or that satisfy inner desires and fill voids within our hearts that would be better filled by Christ and by His redemptive love. Some of these choices are small and the outcomes have limited impact upon the conduct of life; yet, they all matter for even these small things accumulate and grow in their aggregate into systematic ways of thinking, and they become wedges that drive us ever farther away from God’s heart and from serving His gospel. Other decisions that we can encounter in our journey are large and impactful at the level of reshaping the course of life, itself. 

As we are in Christ, all of the process of living belongs to Him. We have been purchased away from slavery to death and ownership by Satan and his worldly forces. This transaction was entered into by God, and the price that was bargained and sealed was the death of the historically singular innocent one, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As God’s great love for each of us was poured out in the form of sweat and drops of Christ’s blood that thus formed the medium for our baptism of grace, we are called upon to fully commit our hearts, minds, and bodies to following Christ and to serving His will throughout the moments and the years of our lives. This is a decision that we are given to make continuously along the way; do I surrender my flesh to Christ to be consumed upon the holy altar of service to the Lord or do I hold onto those aspects of it that make me feel safe or that bring personal pleasure and temporary fulfillment? Holy Spirit, inform and guide my choices today so that they will be pleasing to you, Lord, I pray.  

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Present yourselves to God as ones alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Romans 6: 13b

 

This is another of the ways that we have freedom and responsibility for the way that we behave in our spiritual lives, for God trusts His children with the decision to come to Him or to try to go it on our own. The Lord doesn’t tell us that going it on our own will produce a better result; since, it won’t. He did design and create us with a strong drive toward independence, and He gifted us with amazing capacity and capability. So, consider the fact that He made us in His image and then contemplate what that means in terms of what we might accomplish for Christ in our world.

 

The starting place for accomplishment is found in accepting the leading of Christ’s Spirit for our lives. Then it is brought to action by the ongoing filling of us with His Spirit. This is one of those points where we have a choice to make, for the Spirit fills what has been emptied of self, and the Spirit brings about true life as we yield our will to God’s. The ability to discriminate between what is dead and what is alive is granted to us by God when we are made alive in Christ; since, at that time, we are transformed from people who are eternally dead to ones who are forever alive.

 

How we choose to take advantage of our aliveness is the key to living in the full joy and the complete purpose of the Lord. God leads us to recognize the fact that we are alive so we can stop living in the land of the dead. We must stop trying to stay in control of every aspect of our lives and allow God to take us where He wants us to go. So, when we open ourselves to the Spirit, He will enable and empower us in ways that are beyond our imaginings.