Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:12-17
When we were newlyweds, my parents surprised Jenn and I by gifting us a trip to Cape Cod. What they failed to mention was that it was at a timeshare resort, which meant sometime during the vacation we were obligated to listen to a sales presentation. Oh, joy. Short of wearing disguises, we tried to evade this encounter in every way possible.
Eventually, the gig was up and our time had come. I took one for the team and went at it alone. The sales pitch was convincing. They threw out all the bells and whistles to convince me that my life would be incomplete if I didn't accept the deal right here and right now. I caught myself a few times nodding my head in agreement and considering signing on the dotted line. I knew if I continued to sit there any longer I was a goner.
I looked up at the clock and noticed I had been there for the required thirty minutes. I stopped the guy mid-sentence, stated I was no longer under any obligation to listen, took my restaurant gift certificate and got out of dodge.
My apologies to any folks who are in this line of business, but I can't help but see how eerily similar timeshare presentations are to the sales pitch my flesh and old nature use to swindle me. They're sleek and well-crafted. Each highlights ways to fulfill our desires, wants, and dreams. They play to our fears and insecurities. Both make our comfort and convenience the end all, be all.
While charming us with all the perks, they conveniently leave out the cost of accepting the deal. The fine print in the contract gets ignored. Rather than pay now and enjoy later; giving into our old nature and flesh, we enjoy now and pay so much later.
The longer we remain a captivated audience member for our flesh to speak into our lives, the more likely we are to give into the lies. Our old nature might try to convince us nothing has changed, but that's not true. We've done our time - through the cross we have freedom.
Because of what Christ did on our behalf, we are under no obligation to our flesh. We have a choice. We can remain in our seat and let the sales pitch continue, or we can get up and leave. Which one are you going to choose today?
Where are you most vulnerable to believe your old nature or give into your flesh? What makes you defenseless in this area?
How can you remind yourself that you are under no obligation to give in to the lies of its sales pitch?
God, I am made new because of You. The old is gone. The new has come in its place. When I am vulnerable, weak or tempted, I will remember this truth. Instead of giving my attention to the lies the enemy tries to tell me, I will tune my ears to Your voice and let the Holy Spirit whisper words of grace, love, and mercy over me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.