Thursday, May 10, 2012

Talk About a Great Question!

Romans 6 (NIV 1984)
:21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! :22 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. (Italics added)
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I’m so ashamed!

Wow! Does the question in verse 21 kick you in the gut like it does me?

May I ask another unsettling question? Are you too easy on yourself when it comes to the sin in your life? Many times, I am.

As we begin to end our discussion on Romans 6 (we finish the last verse next week), I’d like us to seriously look at the possibility that we are tolerating sin in our lives.

Without going in the other extreme of beating ourselves up for our failures, will you join me in some hard self-examination? And though I have several areas I struggle with, here a few I’m willing to share:

After I say unkind things, I’m mortified seeing how mean-spirited I can be. Watching the wrong thing on TV, allowing myself to act selfishly, or judgmentally… are more actions which result in shame and death for me. (We begin a dying process in our relationship with God and others when we choose certain behaviors.) In fact, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t experience at least a little shame whenever I gave into temptation. Can you?  Life is hard enough without us adding more shame to our lives.

And whenever I don’t do something God wants me to do (like visit a sick neighbor, or check in on my mother-in-law), I don’t sigh with relief for the extra time I’ve carved out in my schedule. Instead I’m burdened with the task of justifying why my to do list was more important than His list for me.

Yet each time I choose to obey Him – or when I follow through with the things on His list – I’m almost ecstatic with glee (especially when it was hard to obey).

Jesus died a very painful death for a reason: our sins! Are we going to just dismiss that?

Or are we going to hide God’s Word in our hearts and pray consistently for each other so we can choose behavior that leads to life and holiness? We can succeed because God paid a big price!

Yes, obedience is hard. But so are the consequences of sin.

So …

     • How would you answer the question in verse 21: What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?

     • Is the resulting shame worth it?

     • How would your life be different if you asked God to forgive you, and help you make better choices?

     • Would the resulting peace and joy be worth it?

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