Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for June 21, 2020; Third Sunday after Pentecost
Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 91; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:5a, 21-33)
Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6: 13, 16, 22-23
In the above passage, Paul warns us to pay attention to whom we are obedient. For what we choose to follow and make a priority in our lives, is that to which we strive to devote our time and energy; it is that to which our lives become enslaved. Perhaps, it’s work, or money, or prestige, or independence, or self-gratification, or substances. This life, Satan, and ourselves- if dependent upon our own wisdom and desires- would have us seeking and striving for things that are never obtainable. Although we strive and chase after these things, we can never fully grasp them. We are enslaved by them, and if we are willing to do anything to attain them, then in many cases, we enter into a world of bondage, pain, regret, and even death.
However, to be a slave to God is a bondage of peace, assurance, and love with no regrets. Who wouldn’t want to be a slave to someone who would bestow such things upon their slaves? The only problem is that to be a slave to God means to willingly let go of your ‘self’ and serve him in his truth; not twisting his truth to meet your own desires. It means “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) It means to see his son, Jesus, who willingly paid the penalty of sin in your place, in order to reunite you with God, the Father, for eternity. It means letting go of the reigns of your own life and letting God take the wheel. It means to follow him wherever he leads and trust him to fulfill through you all that he has planned.
Yes, oh how difficult it is to let go of ourselves and the desires of our flesh. We are no different than the prodigal son who demanded he receive his father’s blessing and inheritance to simply fulfill his earthly desires, which lead to loneliness, regret, starvation, and self-destruction. It wasn’t until the son willingly returned, as a slave, to the grace of his father who waited expectantly with open arms, that the son became obedient to his father. Then through that obedience, the son truly experienced the joy, forgiveness, and peace that his father had desired to give him all along. It was then that the son experienced abundance and fulfillment.
In the same way, your heavenly Father waits expectantly for you to turn away from being enslaved by Satan, this world, and your weak sinful self, and to turn towards him to seek him, submit to him, and to receive all that he desires to bestow upon you. He has plans for you; “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“ (Jeremiah 29:11) Instead of bondage, pain, and regret, your life will be filled with love, peace, joy, and purpose. Then, together with all who serve the one and only God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you can rejoice in your servitude and obedience: “You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.” (Psalm 118:28) “I am your servant and am ready to serve you.” (1 Samuel 25:41)
Prayer: Dear Lord, why is it so hard to let go of my own desires of the flesh that harm me, and to deny myself in order to fully submit to you? Oh Lord, how weak I am! Forgive me. I so desire you with all my being; yes my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. By your Spirit in me, help me to fully see the areas of my life that are in bondage to sin. Then free me from all things that enslave me, in order that I may fully submit to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!