Beginning Prayer: Show me your way, teach me your path, guide me in your truth.
Passage for today: Romans 6:12-14
Paul gives us (at least) three specific guidelines today in this passage. Let’s look at them a little closer.
Do not let sin control the way you live.
I like how Eugene Peterson’s translation puts it: “you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.” (Romans 6:12, MSG) How much time and energy do we give that thing that wants to keep us down? How many errands are we running for it? But choosing to not to think about it, not to fuss with it, not to let it control us, is like telling us not to think about pink elephants. Now, what are we thinking about? Exactly. So it’s not just about releasing control, it’s about replacing control and giving ourselves completely to God.
Give yourselves completely to God...use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
What does it look like to give ourselves completely to God? To use our whole bodies as an instrument for His glory? It sounds kind of intimidating, but I actually think it’s so much simpler than we make it. It’s merely just choosing to intentionally and deliberately bring God into our habits.
Look at what our man Paul says a few chapters ahead in Romans 12:1-2, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
He’s not talking about just adding a morning quiet time to your life, although moments of reading God’s word and recalibrating to His heart through meditation and prayer are great practices to help you think about Him all day long. But Paul is talking about bringing God into all the things we’re already doing all day. What would happen if we brought God into our habits--and into all of them--the good, the bad and the ugly?
What if we thought about and took a moment to connect with God while we were brushing our teeth, driving the carpool, walking into our classroom? What if we could recognize God’s desire to help us with all the big tasks he’s called us to--like helping the poor, leading the lost home, walking alongside people in the midst of their addiction--but he also wants to help us with the little things that don’t seem as noble but are still keys in developing our character and relationship with him--things like laundry, homework, dishes, traveling, wiping noses (and little butts!)--what if God is that good, that He would want to join us in those habits too, and use all of them for His glory?
What if we brought God into our habit of spinning out with anxiety about something we said at a party? In our habit of eating when we’re not hungry? In our habit of sexual fantasy, or addiction or escaping? What if we asked him for help when we are in the habit of losing our temper when we feel afraid? In our habit of blaming everyone else for the messes we’re in? What if we asked God for His presence, for His glory, for His grace IN those moments and not just after them? If we would be willing to do that, then we would begin to know what it means to live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Live under the freedom of God’s grace.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds really good to me--living under the freedom of God’s grace. Living under the freedom of His grace means I don’t have to get it right all the time. Living under the freedom of His grace means it’s about the journey not the destination. Living under the freedom of His grace means I don’t have to wait until the 1st of the month or Monday to try again; I have a new opportunity every minute of every day to return back to His way. Living under the freedom of His grace means a clean slate, a new perspective, an undying hope. Living under the freedom of His grace means I have a covering, I have a shield, I have protection. It means progress is better than perfection, and I don’t even have to wait for a new day to have a new day. Living under the freedom of God’s grace is living free.
God, today, I pray that you will help me to not let sin control the way that I live, but instead give myself completely to you. Help me to use my whole body, like an instrument in your grand orchestra, to do what is right--all for your glory, so that I can live today under the freedom of your grace.
Find one thing today that you actually hate doing. Maybe it’s something you have to do whether you like it or not, or maybe it’s something that’s been on your to do list but you’ve avoided it and dreaded it. Today, I want to challenge you to find a way to do it for the glory of God. Maybe it’s turning on that worship playlist from yesterday (YouTube | Spotify) while you clean the bathroom. Maybe it’s bringing a treat or an encouraging word for your favorite (or least favorite) co-worker. Maybe it’s just shifting your mindset to believe that even in the most lonely task, your Father sees you, and taking a moment to recognize Him there. Today, your challenge is to redeem the mundane. It all matters to Him because YOU matter to Him, and everything we do can be done for His glory.
(See if you can commit to memory, or commit to remember, this verse this week.)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NLT)