"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- Philippians 4:13
Jumbo the Giant was the largest elephant in captivity a century ago. He was truly a sight to behold in the touring circus of PT Barnum and Bailey. As a grown elephant, Jumbo could rip entire trees out of the ground, pull a railroad car, and he was easily the strongest animal in the entire operation.
However, the amazing thing is that Jumbo was actually a giant weakling...or at least he thought so. You see, ever since Jumbo was a baby elephant, his trainers made sure to trick him regarding his amazing power, and in doing so, easily kept him under their control.
You see, though grown elephants possess the strength to rip whole trees right out of the ground, young elephants do not. So from the very beginning of his life, a rope was dangled around Jumbos neck, and staked into the ground when he wasn't performing. As a small baby elephant, he would try an try to pull this staked rope out of the ground, but to no avail. He just didn't possess the power to do so. Inevitably, Jumbo simply hung his head to the ground, knowing he was defeated.
Even when he grew older, and was strong enough to rip out trees, whenever his masters would drape the rope around his neck, Jumbo would simply lower his head in surrender. He had been effectively trained and conditioned to believe that he would never be free, and so continued to resign himself to his captivity his entire life.
So it is with many Christians. We simply don't realize the power that we already have available in Christ, to overcome and defeat sin. Paul told us in Romans 6 that when we came to Christ, though the power of His indwelling Spirit, we were made free from the power of sin over our lives. In Romans 6:6,7 we read:
"..knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin."
What Paul tells us here is simply amazing! Though most Christians are unaware of it, or simply may not believe it, Paul states that we are free from the dominating and controlling power of sin, as born-again Christians.
We all still feel the presence of sin, and the temptation that it brings to us. But as Paul declares here "..that the body of sin might be done away with.." This word for "done away with" is the ancient greek word "kartargeo" meaning "to be stripped of power, to be deprived of power." Paul is literally saying that since Christ has come to live in your heart through faith, though sin is still PRESENT within you...it has no POWER over you!! You will still continue to hear the seductive voice of sin whispering to you, but you never have to obey it ever again. You already, right now, possess the POWER thru the Holy Spirit living inside of you to triumph over the power of sin.
Paul goes in on Romans 6:6 how to do this on a practical level:
"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This word for "reckon" is also very important and helpful to us. It is the word "logizomai" and is an accounting/mathematical term. It means to "count something up and make the calculation." Paul is telling us to calculate and add up what Christ has accomplished for us on the Cross, and realize that we are FREE from the dominating power of sin in our lives as Christians! Though sin may call to us, it certainly doesn't control us anymore!
Paul finally concludes his thought on this in Romans 6:12-14 where he states:
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
Since the power of sin is BROKEN over your life, and since you are now FREE from it's control, Paul says: "Don't open yourself up to it any more. Stop putting yourself along side of it!"
This is a practical call to action, for us to not put ourselves next to, or around sinful temptations. We have been made FREE...so STAY FREE in Christ!
Do you realize that YOU have been made FREE from the dominating power of sin? Do you calculate and reckon yourself to be FREE from the deceptive controlling nature of sin?
Or are you perhaps like our friend Jumbo? Tricked into thinking that, although your powerful and free from sin, you wrongly believe that you'll always be in bondage? Do you also not realize the power in Christ that is already yours, through His Holy Spirit, and therefore remain under slavery to sin?
I encourage you to REALIZE that your old man was crucified with Christ; RECKON by faith and understanding that your chains have been broken; and finally RUN with this new truth, into the freedom that Christ has already achieved for you!
Be FREE today, by truly understanding and applying, what Christ has done on the Cross for you! Don't be a Jumbo weakling...but rather a Giant of Faith!