The Apostle Paul - “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (Romans 6:16)
Our sinful natures are developed throughout our lives, beginning with us inheriting it at our births. Paul writes, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” (Romans 5:12) We are all born with sin natures. That’s why we have to teach children how to behave. On the other hand, we don’t have to teach children how to be bad. Most of them have mastered that skill from birth.
Secondly, our sinful natures are initiated by temptations and trials. The Apostle Paul writes, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-14). We all face temptations and trials. When we do, our fleshly nature rises up. That’s when we demonstrate anger, bitterness, criticism, depression, envy, fear, greed, hurt, insecurity, jealousy, meanness, rebelliousness, selfishness, unforgiveness, worry, and a host of other negative qualities.
Third, our sinful nature is engaged by choice. We choose to allow our sinful nature to rise up when we surround ourselves with problems, problem people, temptations, and trials. This leads us to make bad choices which result in bad consequences. The Bible clearly teaches us that “You will always reap what you sow.” (Galatians 6:7) The Apostle Paul also writes, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (Romans 6:16)
Even though we were born with sinful natures that are often provoked by the temptations and trials of this life, we still have the choice to live righteously. However, many choose to live in bondage to their sinful natures instead of obeying the Lord. We will explore more of that in tomorrow’s devotion. Until then, we should choose to live righteously through our obedience to the Lord.
Followup Activity - Think back over this past week. When you were faced with trials and temptations, problems and problem people, did you choose to be obedient and follow the Lord or did you opt to follow your own sinful nature? In your journal or on a piece of paper, write out a prayer, asking the Lord to help you always choose to live in obedience to Him. If you are leading your family through this devotion time, dialogue with him about the three characteristics of our sinful natures, then have each of them craft their own prayer to the Lord.
Prayer for Today - Lord, even when I am provoked by the temptations and trials of life, please help me choose to obey You and live righteously. In Jesus’ name, Amen.