Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (Romans 6:16)?
She walks into the store innocently enough. Her big, pretty eyes shining. You think to yourself, "Aw what a cutie" and then it happens. The cute, brown-eyed beauty goes nuts. You realize that sweet, innocent child is a monster in disguise. There is kicking and screaming, whining and pouting. You've seen her. The cute little beauty who doesn't get her way in the store. All she wants is her way. When asking doesn't work, she resorts to tantrums.
Unfortunately, I am all too aquatinted with that girl. Sad to say there are many days that I act like her. Of course, that would be inwardly. Unlike a cute, two year old, I could actually be arrested for pulling a tantrum in a store. No, my tantrums are inward and mostly directed at God.
Is obedience to God really obedience if it is followed by a tantrum?
We would never look at a child throwing a tantrum in the store and think, "wow what an obedient child". Never. That is not true obedience. Obedience is surrender to the instructions of, in our case, God. Wow, how I get that wrong.
I'm reading through Romans. In chapter six, there is a lot of "talk" about being dead to sin and alive to Christ, newness in Christ, and living under grace. Good stuff. I'm stuck there because in my heart I have been fighting a battle of flesh vs. spirit. Paul addresses that very thing if you read on to chapter seven. And I suggest that you do.
The tantrums are the flesh making it's debut. When I obey sin and become a servant to sin, it leads to death, but obedience to Christ, that leads to righteousness (Romans 6:18). True obedience is surrender.
It would serve us well to remember this is war. The biggest battle? The battle we face against our flesh. Paul knew that well.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin (Romans 7:18-25).
Does that prick your heart like it does mine?
I don't want to live in tantrum mode, following the fleshing and fighting obedience to God. My flesh leads me in that direction every time. My heart longs for complete surrender.
And so, I look to God, offer my heart, and pray for help to walk according to the Spirit- to die to flesh.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).