Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Live Free

The Lord has a very interesting way of communicating with me. While I was driving to work this week, I happened to see a license plate from New Hampshire. With it being the morning rush hour, I was able to read the state motto that was emblazoned on the plate. It read, “Live Free or Die”. As I continued my drive to work, those words began to strike a chord in my heart and started to stir my soul. I began to pray for guidance and discernment. 

When I got to work, I opened my Bible and asked God to lead me to the scripture. He led me to Paul’s letter to the Romans. As I began to read, I came to the verse that brought His message to my heart. 

In chapter six of his epistle to those in Rome, Paul writes, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

I began to really think long and hard about the verse that He had led me to. When you think about it, we are slaves to our earthly desires. Those earthly desires lead us away from God and cause us to be disobedient. Sin has a power over our lives and leads us to destruction, separation from God and, ultimately, to death. Sin enslaves us and controls not only our thoughts but also our actions.

Because of the insidious nature of sin, it is like an infection. It starts with a small wound or abrasion. If we do not take care of it by washing it clean and applying antibiotic cream, the wound can become infected. The infection begins to start overpowering our immune system and spreads to other parts of the body. The tissue nearest the point of infection is poisoned by the toxins of the infection. It begins to die and cause more problems for us. If we don’t seek immediate medical attention, what started as a small scrape or wound becomes a life-threatening assault on the entire body.

Sin affects our spirits in the same way. If we become complacent and do not seek the Lord for help in defeating this spirit infection, it will slowly, but surely, take its toll. The source of our spiritual infections is the earthly desires that surround and assault us daily. You don’t have to go far. Just turn on your television or radio. Every moment of every day, the sins of this world tempt us. It is only through God’s grace and the strength that He provides that we are able to overcome them, but there are times when it is just so difficult for us to combat them.

When we have an infection, we go to see the doctor for help before things get worse. Some decide that they don’t need to see the doctor and, in time, things will get worse and require more help. The same holds true for our spiritual lives. We need to seek Him and ask for help when we are faced with temptation.

Several weeks ago, I read an article about a fungus that infects carpenter ants in the jungles of South America. This fungus infects an ant through small spores that enter the ant. Over time the fungus takes control of the ant and begins to devour it from the inside. At just the right moment, the fungus takes control of the ant’s brain and directs it to climb up and then causes the ant to lock its jaws around the stalk of a plant at a precise height where it can create more spores and rain down on other ants and start the vicious cycle all over again.

Just like that fungal infection that takes over and enslaves the ant and drives it to do things it would normally not do, sin does the same to us. It enslaves us and separates us from God and drives us to do things we wouldn’t do. In order to break the bonds of sin, we need to remember that we have God’s grace that has freed us once and for all from sin. It is because of His son’s sacrifice that our debt of sin was paid. Sin and its consequence of death no longer has its claws buried deep into us or, like the fungus, slowly devouring us from the inside only to infect others.              

Paul tells us in that same chapter, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.

This sage advice that he gave to those in Rome not only rang true then but also rings true and louder now. We must never allow sin to enslave and control us. 

Still further in his letter, Paul writes, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Through God’s mercy and the gift of grace, we are slaves to righteous living which leads us to eternal life with the Father and His Son, Christ Jesus. But, we must remain vigilant against those things that will lead us astray and surely lead to death. It is so very easy to slip back into our old, earthly ways and to live a disobedient life. When you feel the world trying to infect or take over, God is just a prayer away. He will place a hedge of protection around you, send legions of angels to stand watch over you and will personally watch over you and hold you close.

As you continue to live in obedience to God’s will, you will become a light to those around you. They will clearly see that God lives in and through you. Paul tells the Romans, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

As a child of God, your purpose is clear. You are a servant of El Shaddai, God Almighty. Do not allow sin to enslave and infect you. Call upon God when you are tempted and He will lead you out of the valley of darkness. 

Remember, your freedom came through the blood of Jesus. He paid your debt and the demands of the law. Paul closes chapter six with these words, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Don’t let the desires of this world lead you to eternal doom. Let the free gift of God lead you to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. When you remain obedient and follow the good shepherd, Jesus, you can live free and stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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