Summer is upon us. School is out. Vacations abound. Families will be traveling here and there, hither and yon. Perhaps you are getting ready to leave on vacation right now. Or maybe you are just looking for something to do today. Go to the zoo. Enjoy the day with the family. Grill some burgers. Take a walk. Sit on the porch. Do whatever causes you great enjoyment.
That last line is one that raises my eyebrows. "Do whatever causes you great enjoyment." That sounds so nice on the surface but when you think about it, the statement needs to be tempered a little. It needs to be clarified. "Do that which causes you great enjoyment" - that is according to the will of God! There are many things that might bring enjoyment (of a form) and yet are not according to the will of God. I was readying in Romans this morning and it caused me to think: "Let not sin therefore reign in our mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members as instruments for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members as instruments for righteousness." (Romans 6:12-13 ESV) There are many things in this world that do not lead us closer in our walk with the Lord. In fact, they lead us further away from Him.
What are some of the temptations in your life that might cause you to offer your members, you body or your mind, as instruments of unrighteousness? What are some of the areas of your life where you allow sin to take over? Is it your thoughts? Your time in front of the computer? Your desires for another person? Your sinful coveting of some things? Your tongue? Your eating? Your drinking? What temptations are you facing today that if you were to give in to it would find that you are "offering your members as instruments of unrighteousness"?
This is the challenge of living the life of a Christian. The good we know we should do, we struggle to do. The evil/sin that we know we should avoid, that is what we find ourselves doing all over again. Like Paul writes, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24 ESV) The harder I try, the less good I do! At least it seems that way to me.
Who will help me? The Holy Spirit will help me. He works in me each and every day. He is with me day in and day out. How do I know the Spirit in my life? He comes to me through Word and Sacrament. In the Word, He daily and richly helps me to overcome the temptations to sin. As I recall the day of my Baptism, the day when He claimed me, gave me faith, I find that I repent of my sins and receive the wonderful gift of forgiveness. As I regularly receive the Lord's Supper, I am strengthened in the daily walk. All of this is through the power of the Holy Spirit working in me! It is as we are told: "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:25 ESV)
So I come back to the thing that has been running through my mind since I read this section of Romans: Whose instrument will you be today? Will you be a instrument of righteousness or an instrument of unrighteousness? Summer is here - may your life, whether at home, work or play, be an instrument of righteousness.