Garret Prestwood, CCC member
I love the Bible. I love to read it, and talk about it, and sing it, and teach it, and hear it taught. I love it because it knows me better than I know myself, and because it tells me of the riches of the glory of God.
Last week I won the Sunday School lottery and got to talk to the KC Seniors class about Romans 6-8. There is nothing like teaching kids to help you condense the meaning of a passage down to its essentials. We picked one word for each chapter. Our words were “freedom,” “doodoo” (my apologies to the parents of the KC Seniors), and “help.” These three words remind us that in Christ we are free from slavery to sin, but we still sometimes do the things we don't want to do (that’s the doodoo). Thankfully, we have a helper in the Holy Spirit who changes us, gives us new desires, and even prays for us.
We talked about how our attraction to sin works kind of like an elephant’s memory. (I’m not sure if those old stories about an elephant’s memory are true, but we’ll go with it for the kids!)
A baby elephant is tied to a chain and has to go wherever he is led. Outside of Christ, we are slaves to sin and are incapable of not sinning.
The elephant grows up and is strong enough to break the chain. When we trust in Christ, sin no longer has power over us (Romans 6). But the elephant, though free, still follows the chain. And we still sometimes do the things we don’t want to do (Romans 7).
The elephant needs to not only outgrow the power of the chain to hold him, he also needs to walk in the other direction—against all he has learned so far—to break the chain. For that, he needs the trainer to teach him new tricks. The Holy Spirit helps us to learn and walk in a new way of life (Romans 8).
But this isn’t just a lesson for the kids. It is a lesson for me. I’ve been walking with the Lord a long time now, but I still sometimes choose to obey the old master. I get angry or impatient. I judge others. I want to control situations. I set my heart on earthly things. I seek the approval of man before the approval of God. I do the things I don’t want to do.
When Paul writes of the doodoo in his life, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” it could be me writing those words.
But he gives a glorious answer: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Who will deliver me from the power of sin? Jesus will deliver me. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
And so we grow as followers of Christ.
Freedom. But doodoo. And, thankfully, help.