RECOGNIZE GOD'S DIVINE OWNERSHIP
There is one very fundamental reason why a person would put into practice the steps we have discussed in this series. Similarly, there is one basic reason why anyone obeys and follows Christ. It is because a person believes that Jesus is their Lord and they are His servant. This person has recognized God's right to command and their responsibility to obey and follow Him. For any Christian to come to full maturity in Christ they must recognize God’s divine ownership of their life (1 Cor. 6:20). God’s right of ownership was the basis of Paul's exhortation to the Christians for stopping the abuse of the body by food or fornication. He taught, “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:13). Food and sexual relations were lawful activities, but the Corinthians were controlled by them and had been brought under their power (1 Cor. 6:12). The Corinthians needed to recognize God's Divine ownership of their body, that they were His temple and must glorify Him in their body (1 Cor. 6:19).
Therefore, do you recognize that you are a purchased possession? Paul declared, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). Do you recognize that you have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28)? Do you understand that He has the right over your life as your Lord and King? If you do, then you will not surrender to your addictions anymore.
I. Why is Recognizing His Ownership So Important?
A. You can only have one Master and Lord of your life. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). You cannot serve God and anyone or anything else. If Christ is your Master then nothing else has the right to control you. Food can't be your Master. Alcohol or drugs can't be your Master. Why? It is all because you have yielded to Christ as your owner and Master. Is He your Master?
B. Recognizing His ownership keeps you from half-heartedness, indecision, or looking back to your old behaviors. If He is God and is your Master, then serve Him. This was the basis of Elijah's exhortation to the children of Israel not to falter between two opinions. Elijah said to the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). If He is your Master then serve Him alone and refuse the control of any other thing.
C. Recognizing God’s ownership is the most powerful motivation to keep you from going back to your past sinful behavior. Notice when Joseph was tempted to commit adultery with Potiphar's wife, he said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God” (Gen. 39:9)? When Jesus is your Lord and Master you see all sin as a sin against Him. David acknowledged after his sin with Bathsheba, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” (Ps 51:4). Therefore, your ultimate desire should be to please Him because He has purchased and redeemed you. He has the right of ownership over your life. Have you fully bowed your knee to Him given Him that right over you?
II. Steps to Take:
A. The next time you begin to struggle with your old desires for your old behaviors acknowledge in prayer His Lordship and right over you. Notice that after Elijah had exhorted the people to yield and surrender to God that at the moment of crisis with the prophets of Baal he declared, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word” (1 Kings 18:36). He was acknowledging that God was His Lord and that he was a servant. David acknowledged the same, “I am Yours, save me” (Ps. 119:94).
B. When you begin to struggle with those old desires invite Christ to rule and reign in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. As you surrender by faith to God’s Spirit He will rule over the power of your flesh. Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Surrendering like this to God is what it means to present your body as a living sacrifice unto Him. Presenting yourself to Him is what keeps you from being conformed to the world and yielding to your own fleshly desires or the pressure of people (Rom. 12:1-2).
C. Remember, you surrender and present yourself to the Lord because you love Him. You must hate your addictive behavior and love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength (Matt. 22:37). Love for God is what gives you this hatred for evil. David said, “You who love the Lord, hate evil” (Ps. 97:10). When you truly see the redemption and freedom you have in Christ from your past sinful life-style you will naturally fall in love with the Lord. In addition, love for Him as your Master keeps you from a motivation of duty or works. May you fall more in love with your Master and Redeemer.