"Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 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 of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life."
Let me tell you a little about what's going on at my house. You know that old saying, "when it rains, it pours?" Yes, it's pouring around here! Last week, in one day, we had our hot water heater go out, our dishwasher stop running, the dryer will only run half a cycle and to top it all of beautifully, a screw slipped on my computer when I closed it and the whole things snapped in half. Problem being, we don't make a whole lot of money to fix things all at once like this! Our landlord (love him!) replaced the hot water heater and we decided that our top priority (given how much of our ministry is done via online media - teens!) was our computer. So we spent what little savings we had and bought a computer and I resorted to washing dishes by hand. Ok, moving on. You didn't think that was all, did you? So this week the kids and I took our annual trip to St. Louis to site see with my sister (there are great free family things to do around that area!) The last day there I made a horrifying discovery: the kids and I had lice. I have no clue where it came from, but we had it bad. Therefore, I had to use the remainder of our regular savings to buy all of the treatments, sprays, etc, in order to rid ourselves of this plague! In the process of getting everything in the house washed with hot water to decontaminate, our washing machine broke. No, I am not kidding. So, my dear husband (who was my knight in shining armor this week, by the way!) and I had to break into our anniversary savings money to get a new washer. See, my daughter was born on our first anniversary, so we decided then that we would save money each year instead of celebrate, and every 5 years we would do something grand! Washing machines were not in that plan.
I guess what I am getting at is this: while we are blessed to live in the US and experience numerous freedoms, we are not free from life. We are not free from struggles and burdens and worries. The freedom that we have is the freedom to choose. We are free to choose whether these circumstances are going to get the best of us. We have the freedom to choose whether to focus on these things or to look outside ourselves for opportunities to continue the work for the Kingdom. We have the freedom to choose to wallow in hopelessness and self-pity or to rely on the never-failing faithfulness of God to supply every need. We have freedom from sin, which means no matter what the situation, we can choose God and in the end we will receive eternal life with him because of that freedom.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -- John 8:36
|Borrowed from beamerfilms.com|
Here's a little something I have learned from these trying times in my life - think about Job. Satan doesn't give you the time of day if he doesn't think you are worth it. But if he thinks there is some value to steering you off course, then he will give it his all. That means, that in times like these, take it as a compliment: 1) that God would find you trustworthy of such trials and 2) that Satan thinks you are worth coming after. Don't let him win. Let him throw at you whatever he will, but keep your eyes locked on Christ Jesus and focus only on what you can do to glorify him. Claim the victory of this battle and rely on Christ to be your strength.