Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I recently read a story about a captive eagle. For years he was tethered to a stick by a ten-foot long chain. This beautiful bird that was made to soar above the treetops was left to march around in a circle day after day until one day a deep track was worn into the ground. All he knew was that ten-foot circle. Day after day, year after year, this majestic creature walked that beaten path and years of experience confirmed the habit, for it was all the eagle knew.
Then one day, the eagle’s owner took off the chain and set the eagle free! He could now soar away into the sky.
But something interesting happened. The eagle, which was now free, stayed in that same ten-foot circle and walked around that same well-worn path! People who gathered to see the great bird soar away watched in astonishment. “Why would he not fly away?” they wondered to themselves. “Doesn’t he know he’s free?” Even though the eagle’s chain had been removed, he stayed right there in the only circle he had ever known.
Then suddenly, someone stepped forward and pushed him from his well-worn ruts. As he stepped on to new sod, he raised his feet quickly and gently set them back down. He steadied himself and looked around. For the first time, he realized he was free! You can imagine the astonishment that came over him as he leaped into the air and stretched out his wings to catch the evening breeze. Gently flapping his wings, he rose from the ground and stretched them out fully for the first time. He fixed his eyes on the sun, soared upward and was free.
I like this story. It makes me think about the freedom we have in Christ. We have been liberated, emancipated, set free from sin. We no longer have to walk around in the well-worn ruts of sin; we can step outside of the circle. Sin’s power has been broken; we’re dead to sin and alive in Christ, free to serve God and live for righteousness.
Let’s you and I commit to grow and mature in our faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stand in His power and resist sin. Know that the daily victories over sin that we have in Christ will encourage and strengthen us and demonstrate in a powerful way that we are no longer slaves to sin, but are instead slaves to God.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.