“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." - Gertrude Jekyll
Throughout the New Testament, God’s ways are likened to those of a gardener. And in the garden of God, whatever dies produces fruit (John 12:24, John 15:2). Also found throughout the New Testament is the truth that believers have died with Christ and received new life in Him (Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3). The “old self,” or “flesh,” has been crucified with Christ. But what does that mean?
Obviously believers have not literally stopped breathing, died, and been physically resurrected. The “old self” is the person who used to rebel against God. It is the “me” who used to trust my own strength, feelings, and wisdom instead of God’s. It is the old me who did nothing out of faith…even “good things.” Therefore, that person never pleased God because it is impossible to do so without faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Romans 6:6-7 says that this death has freed us from sin. And yet, we still sin…often even struggling with the same sin over and over. So how do we live this life of freedom? We must go to war with sin. But the key to victory is not legalism; it is faith. So how do we fight sin with faith?
Out of all the armor that God gives us to fight Satan (Ephesians 6:10-17), only one piece is used for killing – the Sword of the Spirit. And when it comes to fighting sin, killing is the goal every time. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. So how does faith fit in? Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The Word of God reminds us of what is true. When we are tempted to sin, God’s Word cuts through the lie that a temporary pleasure can fulfill us or bring lasting happiness. The Word beckons us to trust God and His promise of lasting joy.
Dear Lord, I know the only way I'm going to be able to fight against sin and temptation is with your Word and your truth. Help me to run to you by spending time in your Word each day so that I'm equipped for battle. In Jesus' name, amen.