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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

June 11, 2014 - The Choice

By George Paul Wood

From the beginning of creation, God has given humankind a choice between mutually exclusive styles of life. Paul reminds us of that choice in Romans 6:19-23. Here's what he writes:

"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV).

On the one hand, Paul presents the lifestyle of sin. Notice the terms he uses to describe that lifestyle. First, "impurity." Have you ever seen a freshwater stream choked with trash and debris, or fouled by oil and grease? That's a great mental picture of the sinful soul: a beautiful thing polluted.

Then Paul speaks of "ever-increasing wickedness." Have you ever eaten just one peanut? Of course not! No one can eat just one peanut. One leads to another, then to a handful, then to a whole bag. Sin is like that. One sin never satisfies; it must be followed by others.

Paul's third focus is shame. If impurity describes the effects of sin on you that others can see, shame describes sin's effects on you that only you can see. Sin makes it hard for you to look at yourself in the mirror.

Finally, "death." Sin is not a lifestyle; it's a "deathstyle." It's a way of sucking the vitality out of your relationship with God and with others — sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Either way, you're just a corpse in the end.

On the other hand, Paul presents the lifestyle of righteousness. The image of righteousness is the polar opposite of impurity. If impurity is a polluted stream, righteousness is that same stream cleaned up and restored to its natural beauty. Righteousness is your world and you made right by God.

Similarly, holiness is the polar opposite of ever-increasing wickedness. It is becoming increasingly like God in your character, thoughts, feelings, words and actions.

And finally, eternal life is the polar opposite of death. Righteousness is the medicine that heals the terminally sin-sick and restores them to spiritual health and lifelong joy in God's presence.

So, then, here's the choice God has presented us since the creation of the world: sin or righteousness, death or life. Stated so starkly, the choice is — and always has been — obvious. Choose life!

— George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God and author of The Daily Word online devotionals.




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