I normally don't get much time to blog on the weekends but the Pastor's sermon this morning really struck a nerve in me and I want to share with you. First, let me start off by saying that our pastor has been preaching through Romans for a really long time. We are now at what I really consider to be the "meat" section of the book. Today his message was from Chapter Six verses 15-23. The title was "It's Important Who You Chose to Serve".
He compared and contrasted slavery to sin and slavery to God. He spoke of how as slaves to sin we are living a life that results in slow death; that we are reproducing a life that is soiled and sinister; we are living a life that ridicules and brings personal shame and a life that recompenses us with eternal separation from God.
A bleak image for sure. As the Pastor was preaching I felt the weight of sin and really began to sense the hopelessness of slavery to sin and a life of living for the wicked desires of my heart. I was nearly overcome by the disparity.
Then came the back page of his sermon guide. This page was titled "Servant to the Savior". He reminded me that servants rehearse daily their submission to God. He spoke of how obedience is from the heart and is truly a heart issue. He implored us to let Go have our hearts.
Then he reminded us that servants rejoice in their status. It was at this point that the Holy Spirit began to speak to me in the stillness of my heart. As I began to sense the hope of freedom from the slavery of sin, one word jumped out at me from Romans 6:18: BECOME. "And having been set free from sin, you become slaves of righteousness" (emphasis mine).
The dictionary has this to say about that word:
be·come /bɪˈkʌm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bi-kuhm] verb, be·came, be·come, be·com·ing.–verb (used without object)
|1.||to come, change, or grow to be (as specified): He became tired.|
|2.||to come into being.|
BECOME ... it slapped me upside the head. Becoming a servant of the savior is an ongoing process. It is a change, a daily growth as we come into being. Daily we have to make the decision to be free from the slavery of the evil one and the sins that rest in the caverns of our wicked hearts and BECOME a servant of the savior. Sure I knew this concept before this morning but I am not sure I ever realized what a beautiful word become, really is.
BECOME. The gloom of the first page of the sermon guide is pushed away with that simple word that brings hope. It gives me the visual of something being built. For sake of illustration, lets say a boat. A huge tree is chopped down and the boatmaker's tool are changing the boat from a tree to a vessel that is seaworthy and able to withstand the crashing waves. If the boatmaker just put the chopped tree into the water, it may float, but it has no usefulness. It is only, through his tender handiwork, that the tree has BECOME a boat and it can be fully used to its potential. The boatmaker of our lives knows that it takes a long time to help us BECOME. His hands are diligent, working to shape us from the chopped tree that has no function, to the boat that can not only stay afloat amid the storm, but carry others as well.
The spirit of the Lord rested on my shoulders as the pastor continued. I was reminded that I have to surrender the control I want of my own life as the pastor told us that servants renounce their own sovereignty. No matter how hard it tries, a chopped down tree cannot make itself into a boat. It has to surrender to the will of the boatmaker to make it useful again.I have to learn to let the control go over to the one who is equiped to make me useful again.
Hope continued to fill me as the pastor reminded me that servants are recompensed on an eternal scale. He reminded me of Romans 6:22c that begins with those great words of hope, "and the end, everlasting life." God promises us that all of this work is not in vain. There is a reward waiting. In the end, he promises us eternal life. When we surrender our will, he lets us BECOME one who will never die.
I have been challenged this morning to let the dead, chopped, useless tree that is my life BECOME the useful vessel that God can make it be. I will do all that is within me to no longer be a slave to sin, but to BECOME a servant to the savior.