Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 6:11-14 – In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (NIV)
There is a huge, dead tree leaning precariously beside the path where I walk each day. The tree has been dead for a very long time. Its trunk is naked and bleached by the elements, and its branches, stripped of all foliage, creak and groan with every breath of wind. The tree, although dead and broken off at its base, is not, however, lying on the ground. Rather, it is being held up by several living trees which surround it.
This tree reminds me of the Christian life and how, so often, though we are to count ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, we don't always want to let go of those old sins which have plagued us for so long — sins of our mortal bodies: the tongue, the mind, laziness of spirit, self-will, and unkindness of heart, just to name a few — sins which we may be so used to indulging that we don't even realize that we are supporting them, holding up habits which should no longer have any power over us — sins which are tarnishing not only our witness for Christ but our own spiritual health and wellbeing.
For me, this old dead tree spurs me on to prayer as I pass it by. I pray for an open heart and mind to anything within me that is not pleasing to God. Then, I pray that I will let it go, that it shall no longer master me, but that Christ shall master it within me.
How about you? What habitual sins may you unwittingly be upholding in your life? Do you want to recognize and be dead to them? Then, take time today to be still and allow God to take inventory. Offer your body to Him as an instrument of righteousness that sin shall not be your master in any sense of the word, but that His grace may prevail in your mortal body. I encourage you to pray:
Prayer: Lord God, search me and know me this day. Open the inner eyes of my heart to those sins which I may be upholding in my life. Bless me with a spirit of humility to trust in You to empower me to repent of them and to truly let them die and fall away from my life in Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.