“Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:21-23 NASB
I spent a good deal of my life in pursuit of the frivolous. I invested my money, my time, and my energy in pursuit of things that offered momentary pleasure, but no real lasting benefit. It was like a steady diet of cake. It was sweet, and tasted so good in my mouth. I swallowed the goodness. Over time, the ruin is inevitable as weight is gained, mobility is inhibited and health is threatened. That momentary pleasure, gave way to the penalty of potential death.
In the purely spiritual realm, the cost is wasted time, guilt, shame and a constant state of regret. I have so many of those, from my life before the Lord. There was no satisfaction, no promise of better things, only the erosion of self. My mental heath was threatened and I was earning my way to a Christ-less damnation in hell. Spiritual death.
One of the greatest events in my physical life came in the form of the failure of my kidneys. In a matter of months, my life was turned upside down. As a result my diet completely changed as all the foods that I delighted in were suddenly forbidden. I had a renal diet that was basic and essential. Though the resulting dialysis made life difficult, I was eating healthy food. I lost weight and eventually received a transplant.
There came a time when the pursuit of sin resulted in a spiritual decline, where I felt no joy and the things that I had gloried in, turned from the forbidden treats to heavy burdens that dragged on my soul. My life was filled with struggles and emptiness, as I sought to make it through life. Finally God began to place people in my life to lead me to Him.
Since my transplant, I went through a period where I sought to make up for lost time. I ate what I wanted and gained some weight. Fortunately my body has changed and all the gain went to my middle where I could be reminded of it. I have for the last few months resumed the healthy eating habits. I want to enjoy the free gift of a new kidney and maximize the great things that have come from the second chance God has given me. I am also honoring the life that ended that I may receive that donation.
I began my walk with Christ with stumbles and sinful struggles as the old gave way to the new. As God moves in me, the old me was changing and the sinful things that I ran to, lost their benefit. Suddenly I wanted more of the things of God. Instead of the wasting time on the stuff of world, I look to the edifying goodness of God’s word.
It has also changed my taste in music. Early in my walk I loved the emotional music that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. The repeating choruses, the whole soaking sensation. Over time I found myself embracing the fact of God’s great salvation brought by Jesus on the cross. For a number of years I sang hymns at the Fort Des Moines Correctional facility. I was captured by the biblical songs, full of truth and Scripture that built me up in the faith. I can thank Pastor Shawn VanderHart from Adelphi Baptist for that. I still like drums, though.
All of my life has been changed as I changed my spiritual diet from one filled with things that stimulated my flesh, but offered little benefit for the spiritual being in me. I want to make the most of this great salvation, this free gift provided me. Like I honor the soul lost to give me my kidney, I want to honor Jesus, who went to the cross and died for my sins that I may be saved.
Believers, seek the Lord today. Seek to make every moment count for the kingdom. Seek to grow in the faith and value the things of God that have great gain for you now and in eternity. You will find that your desires will change and you will be better, you will be set apart, or sanctified for the purposes of God.
My life has greater value. Sadly, the choices of past have had consequences that I now live with, but God has given me new life and the grace to make choices that honor Him.
Choose this day to seek and serve the Lord! He has taken away death, and has given us eternity. We have the free gift of salvation in Jesus!
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!