Present yourself to obedience (Romans 6:16).
When we present ourselves, we are giving ourselves up. We are denying our own way and letting God have His way.
In teaching about presenting our “members” Paul referenced directly the idea of “members” that Jesus spoke to in His seminal teaching about lust.
Based on his study of Romans 6-8, Watchman Nee (see earlier post) included “Presenting Ourselves” as one of the vital conditions for those “living the normal Christian life” :
- Knowing (Romans 6:6) and Reckoning (Romans 6:11)
- Presenting ourselves to God (Romans 6:16)
- Walking in the Spirit (Romans 8:4)
All who walk in the Spirit, recognize that it is only by both knowing and presenting that this can come about.
Jesus described it this way, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
Our tendency as modern Christians is to spend our lives figuring things out. We delight and perhaps even pride ourselves in knowing this or that about our faith or about God’s Word. This is important, no doubt. If we don’t know His commandments we cannot obey and the process of abiding in Christ—walking in the Spirit—is short-circuited.
Nevertheless, we must always avoid attaining essential knowledge without stepping forward into obedience.
Jesus saw this failure in many who were with Him. Even though they were being taught by the most gifted teacher of all time, they refused to obey.
If you desire to overcome lust you need to go about it the right way. Whenever tempted, you have an opportunity to “walk in the Spirit”—or not. Take the two steps required:
First, you must have a clear, uncompromised knowledge that your inclination to lust can and must be refused. As a follower of Jesus, you are able to recoil from this sin. You must present your mind, your body–your members–to obedience. If you claim that you cannot do this you are not seeing your situation clearly.
There is no reason, in Christ, to be overwhelmed by lust. Jesus came to set you free from this sin.
Secondly, you need to “present” yourself to obedience (Romans 6:16). This is a daily exercise. Paul removes any confusion when he precisely dials in that you need to present your “members”:
“I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” (Romans 6:19).
In teaching about presenting our “members” Paul referenced directly the idea of “members” that Jesus spoke to in His seminal teaching about lust (Matthew 5:29). Your hands, eyes, thoughts and imagination are all members—faculties you can control.
God calls you to present these in obedience–to obey God. This is how you “Walk in the Spirit.”