I reached across the counter, my fingers wrapping around the handle of the Christmas coffee mug. I was craving my daily cup of mint green tea with a squirt of agave, but in mid grab my eyes fell on the shiny new teapot on the stove top. Its gleaming glass called out to me.
I should use that.
It takes too long. Five minutes is an eternity compared to 1:30 in the microwave.
An inner battle broke out, provoked by the guilt-inducing voice reminding me that my parents bought the perky little teapot as a Christmas gift after listening to months of whining that I was tired of heating water in the microwave.
I wanted a teapot, so why wasn’t I using it, and instead doing exactly what I’d complained about?
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” ~ Romans 7:15
Too easily I fell back into the old routine. The teapot glinted on the black oven surface, a beacon of hassle that rushed morning. I started the microwave and headed to the laundry room to karate-chop my way through socks and underwear.
Growling at the laundry in my arms, I dropped it and headed back into the kitchen. With a guilty glance at the half-full teapot, I placed the green tea bag into the steaming coffee mug.
That was a Christmas gift you asked for, for months. Why don’t you use it?
Eh, it’s new. Different. It just seems…easier to do it the old way.
Later, as I read over my upcoming Sunday school lesson, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the teapot truth. We were in Romans, the powerful epistle in which Paul beautifully details Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and our new life in Him. I was teaching from Chapter 7, where Paul explains that though we’re made a brand new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) with a new nature, we will still sin.
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” ~ Romans 7:19
The biggest roadblock for many in coming to faith in Jesus Christ is the awareness and admittance of the sin nature within. We all have that nature, even the ‘best’ of us… “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Throughout my life, God had to knock quite a few people off the ‘perfect’ pedestal I placed them on in my mind, reminding me of this Truth.
The only One never knocked down off His throne? Jesus Christ.
The great news is when we’re saved by faith in Jesus Christ, the old nature – which we’re born with and separates us from our perfect Creator – is compressed, crushed down by the Holy Spirit. It’s not gone, but we’re given power through Jesus and the Holy Spirit to defeat the sinful desires of our old nature.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
We have to continue squashing our sin nature by cutting out things of the world and clinging to things of God…that which is true, noble, just, pure, and lovely (Philippians 12:8). I’ve found the more I seek God and His word, the less I desire things of the world. Reading the Bible, seeking to know Jesus more through prayer and study, and fellowshipping with the Body will forcefully press the life out of our sin nature.
As I read through and prayed about this tough lesson, the teapot truth came to mind. Even though I had the shiny, perfect glass teapot, I still chose the old way because it was easier and familiar. Yet all I needed to do was turn the teapot on.
Once we’re saved by our faith in Jesus, how do we turn the Holy Spirit on in our lives? “Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
As I told my students Sunday morning, Pray, pray, pray! Ask God for strength to do what is right. He is so faithful to see us through whatever we face! And when we sin, ask God for forgiveness in Jesus’ name, and repent of that sin – turn away from it.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 6:22 & 23