11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
How do we feel about the sin in our lives? Do we look at our sin as if it’s a force that has surrounded us on all sides too powerful and too dug into the many facets of our lives that it just cannot be defeated? Do we see ourselves as a prisoner of a war that was lost by Adam long ago and now we must put up with its occupation of our lives, our minds and our souls until through death we will finally be plucked out from behind enemy lines? Have we been called to merely recognize the surrounding forces for what they are and just continue to take our same dilemma back to the Lord in prayer week after week year after year?
I think we as Christians can find ourselves hunkered down in a foxhole surrounded by the enemy (Sin) feeling overcome and powerless. We’ve lost some battles and have resigned ourselves to getting comfortable in the foxhole. We’ve decided, maybe without even realizing it, that we are done with fighting this war every day trying through faith to gain spiritual ground and force the enemy to back out of our territory, after all we can maintain a certain amount peace without all this work and stay right here in our comfy foxhole.
We can cling to phrases we hear other Church goers say like “We are just sinful beings”, “We will never totally defeat sin in this life” or “Perfection is not attainable.” Certainly all these phrases have a ring of truth but they almost imply we should get cozy with our sin and not be too bothered by it, even that we are such sinful beings we just can’t help it. I can’t find this attitude of resignation towards sin in the Bible anywhere only the opposite.
I am not a sports fan but I have no doubt that even the teams that are most often defeated that everyone knows about and likes to crack jokes about can’t go out on the field with the attitude that there is no way we will win this today. The coach doesn’t give a speech before the game reminding the players of just how often they loose and the other team wins, he doesn’t say that maybe we can just try and score a few points each game this year so we don’t look so bad. All the greatest sports upsets where the underdog pulled off the impossible did so using one single thing, one single mindset, and one very powerful attitude….Hope!
Throughout the New Testament we are called into a confrontation against our sin, it’s called many things a struggle, a battle, a war. We are reassured in Hebrews that we are free from condemnation through Christ our savior but also it says we must run the race with perseverance. Paul compares our walk with the Lord to strict training in Corinthians. James calls us to submit, John says abide, and Matthew calls us to be perfect. These are just a few from the New Testament; I could go on and on. Like the greatest coaches of all time they are calling us into action, into hope. They all tell us what we know, that we are sinful beings dead in our sins apart from Christ, but they say you have Christ so you have hope, not only in an eternal sinless life spent with Christ but hope in defeating sin here and now in this life and therefore living a greater more meaningful more fulfilling life here in this sin filled world. We are behind enemy lines for sure, we live in a dark world but God’s word doesn’t tell us to get used to the dark because you were born in it! It doesn’t tell us to be resigned to taking on losses it doesn’t tell us to just stay down and try to find happiness and peace amidst the oppressive forces that will always overtake us! No! God’s word tells us to put on our armor. It tells us to live in Christ and Christ will shine a light into our dark world so bright those around us will need to wear sunglasses! God’s word tells us we can win this thing, that Christ has already won it for you and now you only need to abide in him through action and the victory he has won will be made present in your life. God’s word tells us to get up if you get knocked down and soon through perseverance, through training, through action we will be spending more and more time on our feet then on our back.
Let’s take a look at ourselves today, where are we on the battlefield? Have we crawled into a hole somewhere and resigned ourselves to listening to the fight? Have we told ourselves that the forces are too powerful or that we are incapable of defeating the enemy? Even worse have we called a truce deciding that some territories in our lives will have to be left to the enemy? Have we hit our back and like a boxer that has went ten rounds decided to just stay down? Are we the defeated player returning to the field knowing we will loose?
Let’s get up off the mat and go into the next round with victory in our hearts, let’s get off the bench and get our head in winning the game, let’s return to our feet with a strength and hope given to us by Christ that says “We will not go down again!”
Crawl out of the fox hole there’s a war raging around us, a war between Light and Darkness between Love and Evil. Casualties of this war are lost in the darkness and caught in snares set by the evil one, they need to see hope, they need to see that light exists, they need to see that Christ is alive and well and has won this war already, they need to know they can be released from the snare and see the enemy put on the run. We as soldiers of Christ carry the light and truth of Christ inside of us we just need to believe in it and have the faith to use it. We cannot defeat sin, on our own we are slaves of sin, but through Christ our chains have been thrown off, Satin himself should fear us, darkness will melt away in our presence, paths will be made straight and love will prevail. This war has been won; the enemy’s forces were utterly stomped into oblivion on Cavalry’s hill.
Sin can be defeated in this life and we can be made completely new creatures before the eyes of those still held in bondage. When they see the battles Christ has won in our lives and the enemy retreating from our territories maybe they will take up the fight as well, maybe they will see the hope of Christ in us and get back on there feet, put on the armor of the living God and begin to win the battles they once lost.