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A full resume

Oscar Wilde reminds us: "The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future." If you think of yourself as a saint, you are likely living on some past accomplishment as your sense of 'sainthood'. If you consider yourself as a sinner, you know your past and present can be riddled with some pretty gnarly stuff that you'd like nothing more than to be rid of - in fact, you count on being 'rid of it' through the finished work of Christ on your behalf! You know you have a future because your past and your present are both in his hands and under his care. Wilde also told us 'experience is the name we give our mistakes'. How many of us have a resume full of those? I do! Mistakes galore and more - all lined up, in perfect order, they can be labeled as a great deal of 'experience moments' where I made an unwise choice, followed it up with other unwise actions, and then somehow God brought me out of the muddle of it all and let me call it 'experience'. An experience I would rather not repeat is a better way to describe it!

Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer captive to sin’s demands... When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom! (Romans 6:6-18)

Old way - not always the best. New way - not always the easiest. In between way - definitely not the best way. I guess we are in a bit of a muddle, huh? We could go on living the old way, but we give up our freedom if we do. We could go on living right smack in the middle - getting the choices right once in a while, but still finding the appeal of the old way of living drawing us back - yo-yo's when it comes to living righteously. We won't be very free there, nor satisfied with the outcomes, but amassing lots and lots of 'experience' additions on our resume of life. I don't need a long resume to impress others - I need a short one! One that says I have been bought out of slavery by the best, taught to live uprightly by the best, and now am making the best choices I can make. Period. 

Freedom that never quits, or your last free act - which sounds more appealing to you? When we are dead to something, we are not connected to a life-source any longer. I recently observed a bunch of dead trees along a patch of land in the depth of the Arizona desert. I wondered as to their 'demise' because they would have likely been the type of drought-hardy trees common to the dessert, but now they were nothing more than overgrown dried up twigs. Some had been cut down, obviously used for some firewood or other thing. Others just stood there all withered, bark gone, weathering in the hot sun. Why did they die? No life source remained - it could have been drought, disease, pestilence - but they were no longer connected to a life source. When we separate - even for a moment - from our life-source in Christ, sin is free to enter in. Where sin enters, death is not far behind.

Offer yourselves to - this suggests we play a very active part in the choice of where we find our life-source, doesn't it? We 'plant ourselves' firmly in the soil that will produce life for all of time, or we allow our roots to take hold in a place much less secure, but giving us the impression life is actually possible. Instead, we find death will soon ensue. Life isn't really possible outside of Christ - we may look like we are living, but true life comes only when we are in a place of absolute and total freedom. Period. Moments of freedom are possible when we try to live one foot in the grave of sin and one foot in the life soil of Christ's salvation, but trust me on this - one cannot live that way for long - sin will eventually suck us into that grave! We will have lots and lots of 'experience' to add to our resume of mistakes, but is that what we want on our resume? Just askin!

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