Who Will You Serve?

WOW! It was beautiful! And it was just what he needed (or so he thought). The lure was incredibly desirable to him and wonderfully appealing. Plus, it promised to excite and please the senses and completely satisfy his needs. So, he carefully positioned himself and bit down hard. Oh my! It was delightfully delicious! He savored the flavor as he consumed the gratifying morsel. Uh-oh! Wait a minute…what’s that? A HOOK! The frightened fish frantically tried to free himself from the baited barb, but it was too late…he was hooked!

Not all that different from the preceding fictional fable, the inspired New Testament writer James provides us with the mechanics of temptation and sin. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away (lured) by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire (lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).

While initially promising escape, freedom, and pleasure…sin inevitably becomes a ruthless, demanding and all-consuming taskmaster. The very nature of sin (addiction) is to dictate, dominate and ultimately debilitate. But this factual information is not provided during the attractive temptation phase. The sad, sobering, bitter truth usually comes much later after one is hooked (addicted). Some may protests that they are not “hooked” or “addicted” in sin. But Scripture says otherwise.

The Bible affirms this undeniable truth: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 6:23). Jesus taught, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). The apostle Peter agrees: “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Pet 2:19 – NIV 1984). The apostle Paul confirms: “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” (Rom 6:16 – NIV 1984).

There are only two choices of service —slaves to sin, or slaves to obedience. One leads to death, and the other to life. The decision is yours. So, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve!” (Joshua 24:15). As the songwriting sage of the sixties, Bob Dylan, wrote: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody—it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody!”

The Christians in Rome made the right choice. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom 6:17-18). May the same be said of you & me!

Terry Schmidt

04-29-18

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