Read Romans 6:1-14
Give Me Chastity—Just Not Yet
“Use your every part of your body as an instrument
to do what is right for the glory of God.”
Food For Thought… A six-year-old little girl burst through the door one afternoon, excited to tell her mother what she had learned in school that day. “Mommy, guess what I learned today?” she blurted out.
“What honey” her mother replied. “What did you learn?”
Pointing to her head, the girl began to describe her first official lesson in human anatomy, “Mommy, I learned about my parts. I learned that this is my head, and it’s where my brains are.” Then she held out her hands and her looked down at her feet, “these are my hands and my feet, and they help me to do things and to go places.” Then she touched her chest and said, “here is my chest, and inside it is my heart. And it keeps me alive.” Finally, she put her hands on her tummy, and exclaimed, “and mommy, these are my bowels, and my bowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.”
She got most of her parts right, anyway. And that’s what Paul is calling us to do, to get our parts right by offering them every day in every way for the glory of God.
But do you? Is your brain an instrument to do what is right? Are the things that you allow your mind to dwell on the kind of things that will bring glory to God? If your thought life were to be played out in living color on the big screen, what kind of rating would it be given: P? PG? How about R? What? Really…you’d have to give it an X? What about the kind of things you allow to come into your thinking? Are those things—the TV shows you watch, the places you go on the Internet, the books you read—do they count as instruments of righteousness?
What about the things your hands do, or the places your feet take you? Would Jesus be comfortable doing those things and going to those places? What about your heart—have you closely guarded it, since it is the wellspring of life? (Proverbs 4:23) And your “vowels,” I mean, your bowels—what about what you take into your body? It is the temple of the Holy Spirit, after all. (I Corinthians 6:18-20) How are you treating the temple, the dwelling place of God? Are you treating the ol’ bod more like a temple, or a sewage treatment plant?
Paul’s point in Romans 6 is that we have been freed from the slavery of sin in order to live in the freedom of a different kind of slavery: slavery to the glory of God. We are to be instruments of praise and righteousness with every fiber of our existence:
“When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:10-11).
Have you consecrated every part of your body as an instrument of righteousness to the glory of God, or are there some parts that are still doing their own thing? Far too many of us are like Augustine, who once prayed, “Oh Lord, give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
Dedication and consecration are an either/or thing: Either you are, or you aren’t. God wants you to be totally dedicated to him; fully consecrated in mind, body, heart and energies. And he deserves it, particularly in the light of his costly investment of grace in your life.
You have been saved by grace—God’s unmerited favor. You have been freed from the slavery of sin; you are no longer under the threat of death—all because of God’s rich and undeserved mercy. You have been given the free gift of eternal life—all at Christ’s expense. Even the faith to believe was supplied by God. Don’t you think that in response, God deserves you to give “your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of him”? Since God has graciously done all that, the least you can do is exert your will and consecrate your whole life as an instrument of praise.
Now I’ll admit, what I’m suggesting won’t be easy. In fact, it will be the toughest thing you ever do. (See Romans 7:14-20 if you don’t believe me.) C.S. Lewis said, “The full acting out of the self’s surrender to God therefore demands pain: this action, to be perfect, must be done from the pure will to obey, in the absence, or in the teeth, of inclination.” St. Augustine finally got it; he surrendered his desires’s will to God, fully dedicating his wandering will to the glory of God. Having experienced that spirit-renovation, Augustine made this observation: “Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider.”
Will! So the question is, will you? God has given you his grace. Now mount up and get going! Use your whole body—every part—as an instrument to do what is right to the glory of God.
“Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things,
so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience
must become the essential characteristic of our lives.”
This Week’s Assignment:
- Read Romans 6:1-23
- Memorize Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Compare Romans 6:21 with 6:23. Do a cost-benefit analysis of the particular sin that you seem to struggle with on a recurring basis.