Why do people do what they do? How does freedom of choice impact their decisions? What root issues do people focus on most as they make their path through life?
Root issues are important to look at when talking about human behavior. They help determine the “what” and “why” of habits, addictions, preferences, and character. In Romans 6:19 Paul says he’s addressing roots using “human terms,” “everyday life,” “everyday illustration,” depending on your translation. Perhaps today we would use psychology language: behavior modification, motivational strategies, personal training courses, or even step programs.
Bottom line, in human terms, you have a “will.” You join everyone else on the planet in being “weak in your natural self.” (v. 19) In this broken state, people give themselves over to choices and behaviors they would not otherwise do in a stronger state. Honestly? Your will is powerful. But not powerful enough on its own.
There are reasons people serve an ungodly lifestyle and are slaves to sin. Reasons why they become bound to “ever-increasing wickedness.” (v. 19) It’s through choices. They use their will, first of all, to decide if they will trust Christ for salvation and forgiveness. Then they use their will to decide their habits, addictions, preferences, and character, one choice at a time. In doing this, they also decide what kind of person they will be. What they will do with their freedom. How they will invest their life.
Outside of Christ, you lack the wisdom, perspective, and power needed to choose what is godly. You can do the right things, but that still will not transform you from your inside-out. However, as soon as you trust Jesus for eternal life, you connect with the source of all power. This power can wield the human will. So – let it. Through Christ, you become empowered to make choices you couldn’t consistently make before. BUT – there is a big “but” – it’s critical to forsake all else and choose to become a servant to this new way of living: a slave of righteousness. (v. 22). In other words, you no longer follow your own desires. Consider yourself a servant, carrying out your Master’s desires. Contrary to how limited that sounds, you actually increase the power of your freedom exponentially. By chaining yourself to the God of unlimited love, freedom, and possibilities, you just made the best decision you will ever make. You flesh out your choice to serve the living God. That’s a lot of freedom!
If you ask God to use this process to make you more like Jesus, transformation happens in your heart. You change. You notice it, and so do others. If you give yourself wholly to do what Jesus says, every minute, your desires literally begin to shift and become more like Christ’s desires. You start to do life differently.
Apply your will to carry out the Lord’s desires (It might help to look up the word “Lord”). Become more like Him. Work to accomplish His great, eternal agenda. Accept His timing. Live for His glory. Enjoy His love. The more you draw close to Christ and yield to His Lordship, the more you are transformed. It’s the “snow ball effect.”
This truly works! If anyone understands human behavior, it’s the Person who designed it. God knows what He is doing with each precious, individual life. Besides saving you from eternal misery and loneliness, He knows how to fill your life to overflow every day . . . and forever. God’s power makes you into the person He created you to be as you exercise your will to love and obey Him. Then one day, you realize you are truly being YOU – and you couldn’t be happier!
Choose sin; get death.
Choose God; get eternal life. Get peace. Get joy. Get power. Get rest. Get companionship.
Take your pick. It’s your move. *
Article developed from Romans 6:19-23.
* TEASER: It’s Your Move: Strategies in Thinking from Romans is my latest study book. It is almost ready to go to the printer. Look for it in about a month. You will have so much enjoyment and enrichment going through the book of Romans.
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