We all serve someone. We all have a master. Either sin or obedience. We are either running away from God, or running toward God. There is no neutral. No third option. “In Adam” the choice is made for us, and it’s the one we would choose anyway…the one we have chosen. And that’s sin. But “in Jesus” we have a decision to make…a master to choose. Will we choose obedience in following Jesus, or will we choose to enslave ourselves once again to our old master, sin?
Jesus used a similar analogy in Matthew 6.24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Joshua said it this way, “If it disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24.15)
Who will you serve? Maybe you didn’t know you had a choice. You simply defaulted to what you have always chosen in the past. Unwittingly you’ve enslaved yourself again to sin. You find yourself living the same life you did before you trusted in Jesus, but now you just feel guilty about it. That’s assuming of course that you’ve trusted in Jesus. The good news is you don’t have to keep making that same choice. If you are “in Jesus”…if you’ve trusted in Him, then you don’t have to live like you’re “in Adam” any longer.
If that’s you, you might say… “that sounds good, but how?” Last time we said there were some things to know, to reckon, and then to act on. It’s starts with knowing…that’s what we’ve tackled today. The knowing part. The Truth. The truth is…you are not who you used to be so you should not live like you used to live. You are “in Jesus” which means that you have a new King and that you live for a new kingdom. Therefore you no longer have to pursue the same lifestyle or make the same bad choices. You can choose to follow Jesus in the moment.
Knowing that truth, you then have to reckon it as true for you. Sometimes this is where the heavy lifting comes in. You may have to unwind some faulty thinking. You might have to unlearn some bad habits, or better yet learn some good ones. You may have to let go of some lies that you’ve held onto about yourself for way too long.
Reckoning on that truth, then you just have to act on it. This takes practice. Like anything in life we want to excel at, it takes training. Try and fail, and try again and fail better, and repeat until…success. I catch myself saying foolish things often enough to my wife. But I’ve learned over the years to at least recognize it and ask forgiveness. The time between those two has gotten shorter, and my goal is to someday be able to catch myself before saying the foolish thing. What encourages me is that it doesn’t just depend on my efforts, but I’ve been given the Spirit to empower me to make the right choices.
Choose to follow Jesus. Say no to sin and yes to what God is calling you. Obedience starts with knowing what God has said. That’s in His Word. Are you spending time in His Word on a daily basis? Are you spending time with Him in prayer? Are you spending time with other believers? Sharing your story? Living generously?
This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster