Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God . . . and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:12-14).
Last week, as I struggled to memorize this passage in Romans, I glanced at the column in my Bible where the editors inserted an alternate Greek reading for the word instruments. It's the word also used for weapons.
That word -- weapons -- opened the text for me.
When I present (i.e. offer myself as to a king for service) -- when I present myself to Sin, I give it weapons to use against people who know me, weapons it can use to destroy the work God is doing, or has already done, in their lives.
Scripture often warns us against that. For example, May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord of hosts. May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel (Psalm 69:6); or, You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you (Romans 2:23-24).
On the other hand, when I present myself to God as my king, I give righteousness weapons to tear down Sin's kingdom, to deliver captives from its grasp, to transform darkness to light, failure to hope, depression to peace.
Perhaps that is a reason St. Paul, who knew very well the pull of Sin and the pull of God in his own life, encouraged his readers to present their bodies to God, writing: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1, 2).
I do not think it a coincidence that I contemplated these ideas on the heels of yesterday's thoughts about gazing at the Lord, and by so doing, be transformed into His image. Nor am I unmindful of the idea that God might be trying to get my attention, to refocus how I spend my time -- waste my time, is probably a better phrase.
Once again He reminds me, there is no shortcut to becoming more like Christ. And practicing the presentation of myself to God, and my members as weapons of righteousness for His use, is integral to that transformation.
No one knows when it will be too late to do what we should have been doing all along.