“So you also must consider yourselves (λογίζεσθε ἑαυτοὺς) dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.” (Rom 6: 11-12)
Well that’s easier said than done, some of us might say, as we dismiss this passage for all practical purposes. After all, does it really matter what we “consider ourselves,” or don’t “consider ourselves,” when it comes to sin’s “reign in our mortal bodies”? Does our perspective or view of ourselves matter, when our “mortal bodies” call to us to “obey their passions”?
Yes, perspective does matter. The words I tell myself matter, and have power. Because I, as a human being, am made up not only of the “powers” and calls of my “mortal body,” or its unreflected “emotions.” Contrary to the small violins that may play in my head and accompany my body’s call to some sin (like, “I can’t fight this feeling anymore!,” to quote a beautiful and rather-corny song by REO Speedwagon), – let’s say, regarding food, or sex, or just plain old laziness (like an unnecessary nap, or YouTube-viewing in the mid-afternoon), I do have the God-given gift of discernment and vision, of what my calling or “vocation” is in the present moment, so I can be useful to myself and others in the way that God intends for me. Whenever I choose “sin,” (i.e., “miss the mark” or my God-given purpose, which is my vocation), I must first have decided, indeed decided, to embrace a vision other than the one God has for me. I know this sounds stoic and perhaps overly rational, but I think it is true. It reminds me of a sobering point C.S. Lewis makes about human love, a state often accompanied with the small violins in the head: “But love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will…”
Now, I’ll agree that it isn’t easy, this whole business of having the proper perspective and corresponding direction of the will. But I can work on my perspective a bit this morning, nurturing my God-given will in some quiet-time and contemplation of God’s word. I don’t have to let all sorts of “other” purposes reign in my “mortal body,” tossing me to and fro to some unknown end. So today let me be “alive to God in Christ Jesus,” because I can be, in my baby-steps toward Him.