Life Lessons, Pt. 8: Speak Life!

How many of us have heard about the effects of speaking life over our plants? Some gardeners swear by it. Many have studied this, and it does seem to have an impact. I will leave you to research those for yourself. But is there a Biblical basis for speaking life? The answer is an emphatic “YES!” Proverbs 18:21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat its fruit.”

For my birthday this year, my sister gave me a travel mug that says, “Crazy Plant Lady.” Every morning and evening, when I water my plants, I speak life over them. I declare the purpose of God for their existence: to bear much fruit. But it’s not just plants that we make declarations over. I do the same over our family: Walter, myself, Ezekiel, Joshua, Gary, and Samuel, and then add extended family members and people the Lord brings to my mind. I speak fruitfulness and purpose.

What we speak reflects what’s in our hearts. Jesus makes this clear in Luke 6:43-45 when He states,

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Our spoken words mirror what we are already thinking. That’s it can be dangerous when people are derogatory towards themselves or others. There is no “Just kidding.” If you say it, you’ve thought it and dwelt on it.

Life and fruitfulness have always been God’s plan for us. The confession of our mouths needs to reflect that plan. What do you believe for your family, your nation, the world, and yourself? What are your expectations? This is much more than the theory of positive confession. It is life and death, and you control the tongue that holds power.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I choose life! I choose this day to agree with Your plans and purposes in my life and the lives of others. Forgive me for the times I’ve spoken death to situations and circumstances surrounding my family. I want the fruit of my lips to bring glory to You. Holy Spirit, help me put a watch over my mouth that I will only bring encouragement and life to myself and others, especially when my emotions tell me otherwise. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 7: Don’t Pick the Flowers!

As a young girl, I don’t know how many times my mom scolded us for picking the “pretty flowers” from her squash and zucchini plants. I think they look a little bit like lilies when they open and possess such a beauty of their own. We also liked to eat them! We would dip the flowers in batter and fry them. It’s my understanding that you can also stuff them with a favorite filling to enjoy them. What kid can resist that! But my mom had an excellent reason for preventing our harvest of flowers. If we picked them, the fruit wouldn’t grow, and, alas, no squash would make its way to the family table.

While this may seem elementary to veteran gardeners, I’ve discovered that the fruit develops AFTER the blossom in most vegetables. I have beautiful flowers of different sizes growing not only on my squash but on my tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, as well. Isn’t it just like the Lord to make the growth process beautiful?

I find that the same is true spiritually, too. Often we see a pretty flower growing from our lives or that of others, and the temptation to pick that blossom is difficult to resist. We want to display it in a vase on the table for others to enjoy, but it quickly dies, never fulfilling its true purpose. The purpose of the blossom is to bear fruit, and interestingly the flower must die on the vine for fruit to grow.

Jesus explained the seed dying in John 12:24, which states, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” The same is true of the flowers. Unless it dies on the vine, it will not bear fruit. I have some flowers that have fallen away from the vine, and I will never get any fruit from them. They wither away in the heat and absorb into the ground.

We, too, must die attached to the vine. Only in relationship to Christ can our lives bear the fruit. In reality, our entire Christian life is a cycle of living to die. Once the fruit develops, it is picked for consumption, and the seeds are retained to die once more and bring forth another harvest. Jesus said it this way: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).

You see, it doesn’t matter if you are a seed in a packet with a pretty picture on it or a blossom on a branch. If you don’t die to yourself, you will never fulfill your true purpose of glorifying God by bearing fruit. John 15:8 recounts Jesus’ statement, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” It’s time to do some self-examination and question in what ways we have prevented ourselves from bearing fruit. It’s time to die.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I want to glorify You, and You have made it clear that can only happen as I die to self. I want to remain attached to You, Lord Jesus, and in doing so bear much fruit for the Kingdom. Today, I choose to die in every area I have refused to give You. You deserve all of me, not just the parts I feel comfortable releasing to Your care. Holy Spirit, reassure me that as I die, You will increase my fruitfulness, and life will abound in because You are a loving and faithful gardener, tending to me and all I entrust to Your care. I ask in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 6: Developing Strong Roots

My friend, Mary Beth, has a sapling peach tree she and her husband planted in their yard. Upon purchase, they were advised that when it begins to bear fruit, to pick it immediately so that the tree’s energy can be focused on developing a strong root system and bear a greater harvest in the future. It seems counterproductive and the antithesis of what you are trying to achieve. After all, a fruit tree’s purpose is to bear fruit.

This principle is mentioned in the book of Leviticus 19:23-25, which states, “When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the LORD. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the LORD your God.”

Root systems are paramount to ensuring the plant’s survival and the time given for its development. For instance, in peach trees, even though they may have fruit, they must be removed so that the tree and the branches can grow to maturity. After about three years, it can produce a crop provided that the crop doesn’t damage the tree branches.

The root system fixes the plant to the ground, stabilizing it so that when harsh weather comes, it can survive. The roots continue to grow undetected beneath the earth, searching for the water necessary to sustain the plant’s life. They grow in the direction of the water and nutrients needed for growth and then store it. Additionally, while acting as a storage mechanism, they also expel any toxins within the plant to prevent damage. As the roots grow more robust, some can be cut to develop another plant or used for medicinal purposes.

Scripture often discusses the roots of the Christian. Consider the following:

  • Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
  • Proverbs 12:3, “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.”
  • Colossians 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

It may seem counterproductive to discard a fruit tree’s early fruit, but remember, the goal is the tree’s growth so that it can hold and sustain the weight of heavy fruit as it ripens to maturity. It is crucial that branches don’t break trying to support fruit they cannot yet care for because of an undeveloped root system. Give it time. You and I were called to fruitfulness, but that requires a maturity lovingly developed by a caring gardener who wants your crop to flourish even when storms come.

Let’s Pray:

Loving Gardener, thank You that You are allowing my root system to grow. I desire that I will be able to bear the fruit of righteousness and be firmly affixed in Your garden. Forgive me for my impatience with Your methods in my life. I reach for the water of Your Word that I may grow strong and withstand the onslaught of every storm life sends me. I choose today to submit to Your process. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 5: Pruning

Yesterday, we discussed tomato suckers that we need to prune from our lives effectively. The Lord is Master Pruner, diligently cultivating us to fruitfulness. I have an older apple tree in my yard, and this year Walter and Sam went out and removed the dead branches. While we removed many branches throughout the tree, I was sad to see my tree looking so forlorn. I was afraid it wouldn’t bear any fruit this year.

However, when spring came, a fantastic thing happened. For the first time in several years, my apple tree was full of blossoms! I haven’t seen it look so beautiful since we moved into our home, and despite the frost later in spring, we now have many, many baby apples all over our tree. I am so excited: applesauce, apple butter, apple pie, apple chips – the options are endless! The cutting away of what was dead prepared the tree to bring forth an abundance of life in this mature apple tree. The same is true spiritually.

According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, to “prune” means to “lop or cut off the superfluous branches of trees, to make them bear better fruit or grow higher, or to give them a more handsome and regular appearance.” We all have stuff that needs to be lopped from our lives. Nobody wants to bear the rotten fruit of the flesh. Instead, we desire to bear fruit worthy of the Kingdom of God. Additionally, we should expect consistent character, uniform in all that we do. Jesus said it this way: “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).

God will inevitably take out whatever doesn’t bear fruit if you are in Christ. But, if you are bearing fruit, rest assured, you will be pruned – not because you are being punished, but because it increases your capacity to bring about mature fruit. We all have both types of branches. We all need to have dead things removed from our lives. But, praise God; we don’t have to do it by ourselves! Our Faithful Pruner, the Holy Spirit, lives in us, convicting us, pruning us to be people who bear much fruit!

Let’s Pray:

Faithful Pruner, thank You that You care enough about me to remove what is superfluous in my life so that I can bear much fruit. When I do, the possibilities with You are endless! I want to live and bring forth an abundance of life that brings nourishment to those around me. Please help me submit to the pruning process, even when it is difficult and painful, knowing that You have my best interests at heart. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 4: So Long, Suckers!

My friend, Mary Beth, came over to help me plant my first garden. As we were planting the tomatoes, she explained to me that tomato plants could have what are described as “suckers” on them. These are shoots directly between the stem and a more developed branch that take the water and energy from the main plant and create a bushier plant that is more susceptible to bugs and disease. When you pull them off, it allows all the water and energy to focus its attention on the main plant so that it will grow taller.

Now I know from research that this can be one way to deal with suckers, but it teaches a valuable life lesson. These suckers are part of the plant but take up resources that the plant’s body desperately needs to thrive. The same is true in our own lives. I don’t know how many times I have heard people (and honestly, myself at times) say, “That’s just the way I am – deal with it.” But that is not Scriptural.

We were designed to grow spiritually, reaching for the Son and being watered by the Word. When we allow our flesh to grow and subvert resources meant to facilitate said growth, instead of a plant that glorifies God, we attract the bugs and diseases that can eventually overtake and ruin us. That is why we must continually evaluate our lives to see what we are allowing to grow. Psalms 119:59-60 states, “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste and did not delay to keep Your commandments.” Likewise, Lamentations 3:40 tells us, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.”

Scripture tells us to examine and think about how we go and grow. By allowing unholy characteristics to flourish in our lives, we make way for the enemy to come in and sabotage our growth. This takes work, and at times, seems contrary to the goal of being fruit-bearers. However, we must take heed lest we fall (I Cor. 10:12). As Paul admonished the Corinthians in his second letter, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves – that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5).

Can I encourage you today to examine your life and remove the “suckers” that stubbornly hold fast to the stem? Where are the parts of your flesh that need to be snapped off so that you can grow up in the Lord? You can do it with the help of the Master Gardener. He is patient. He desires that you be fruitful.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I want to be fruitful. I desire to see the multiplication of Spirit life in me. Help me to exercise discernment and judgment over my life so that when things pop up that are of the flesh that fosters an environment conducive for the enemy, I quickly eliminate it so that I mature in You. I love You and want to grow into every purpose and plan You have destined for Me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Life Lessons, Pt. 3: What am I Diffusing?

Yesterday I discussed how the manure of our lives creates the perfect soil for our lives to thrive. Holiness is not native to the flesh. But the stench reminded me of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian church. He stated,

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life,” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a.

It’s all a matter of whose perspective you choose to align with when it comes to gardening and life. When I smell manure, do I dwell on the negative, death, and flies? Or do I sense that which brings forth beauty and focus on how my light affliction will nourish myself and others one day? Will I choose to triumph over the substance and stench of my circumstances? That is, after all, what God calls us to – victory.

What are we allowing to be planted in the soil of our lives? You see, every seed bears something. You choose whether you are cultivating bitterness and resentment or life and joy. God asks us every day to choose between life and death. We are told in Deuteronomy 30:14-15, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” The water of the Word is close. You know it. Romans 1 tells us that “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Rom. 1:19-20).

God shows Himself to us through the processes we observe in nature, even our gardens. We must choose whether we will allow the manure of life to create death or life. It all depends on the seed we sow. God wants you to triumph and excel. He created you to reach for the Son and grow in the light of Christ! He alone makes you flourish!

Let’s Pray:

Father, when the enemy seeks to bury me in the dung of life, I choose to reach for You. I choose life. I choose to flourish. No longer will I allow bitterness and resentment to ruin what You desire for my life. Lord, I want to grow strong in You and be the fragrance of Christ to those who are searching for You. When others see me as the fragrance of death, remind me of what I smell like to You! I give You praise, in Jesus’ Name, amen!

Life Lessons from the Garden, Pt. 2: Manure Stinks!

The night before Joshua’s graduation party, Walter, my dad, and the boys were busily setting up my two raised garden beds. (Two is plenty for this novice gardener!) My beds were constructed, and it was time to empty the particular soil I had purchased, specifically formulated for raised beds. As they opened the bags, the most horrendous smell emerged! What was it? The smell of manure! YUCK! At that point, I was having severe doubts about my ability to get very close to my new enterprise. Literally, it stunk!

From what I understand, that’s pretty typical. Soil, fertilizer, and manure mix to make a garden bed ready for plants. As bags of soil were dumped into my beds, I recalled Romans 8:28, which states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Even manure, with its origin and stench, can be worked to bring about something good.

It’s easy to complain about the situations and circumstances surrounding our lives. I think we’ve all heard or used the phrase “That stinks!” multiple times. Yes, it probably does. What has transpired in your life may not have been your fault. It could have been a wrong decision; it may have caused you to question God’s ability to create good. Maybe you’ve sown by creating a place, giving your time and energy to people whose attitudes stink and have seemingly despised all that you’ve planted in them. God’s faithfulness does not change! All it takes is a seed watered by the Word of God to bring forth something not only beautiful but nourishing.

No one is questioning the hurt and suffering you have experienced, but the Apostle Paul tells us earlier in Romans 8:18 that “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” God wants to take the manure of your life and use it to bring about something glorious, but you have to let Him. I know firsthand: the fresher it is, the greater the stink, but nothing significant has ever come of camping in it. Rather, the opposite: disease. So leave your cares at the cross, and allow God to make it beautiful in its time.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I have a lot of stench surrounding me right now, but I give it all to You – the hurt, the pain, the frustration. I give it, Holy Spirit, knowing that You will take it and create a testimony that will cause growth in me and others as they see Your transformative work in my life. When the enemy reminds me of the stench, remind me that You are creating something beautiful and good so that You are glorified in me. In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Life Lessons From the Garden, Pt. 1

This is the first year I have ever attempted to grow a garden. My mom gardened when I was younger, and my sister, Shawnda, has gardened, but I never tried. Mainly because every time my mom left town and kept her plants in my keeping, she had to resuscitate them upon her return. Thus I dubbed myself the daughter with the black thumb and never tried except a plant here and there, many of which didn’t survive. At least, I didn’t think they survived.

To my shock and infinite delight, hope sprung anew within my heart when weeding outside, to discover that a peony plant and a raspberry bush I had planted several years ago in a rock bed had pushed themselves up and were now suddenly growing. Understand, I planted these about four years ago and had given up on them. I think I had even pulled the dead branches out of the ground around the raspberry bush.

This year in Denver, we have had much more rain than we usually get during springtime, early summer – days at a time. As a result, water saturated the soil around our home. Job 14:7-9 states,

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.”

Life is like that. We go through life dividing out a place, time, and energy for others, and sometimes we don’t see anything manifesting. We assume that all we have planted and invested into them has died, and we walk away. But beneath the earth, through the miracle of creation, the roots of what you planted are growing stronger. They are acclimating to the climate and soil you put them in, until one day the rain comes, the Word of God saturates their hearts, and stems burst forth that were buried deep within their hearts. They have been beneath the surface, and now they are reaching toward the Son.

Let me encourage you, no matter your skill level, to garden. Cultivate the soil of people’s hearts and plant a seed. You don’t have to have a lot of them. One will do. Just remember, you can’t see what is going on beneath the surface. Trust that the God who created the seed is also God of the process, and in due season He will bring the harvest. Just be faithful to keep planting!

Let’s Pray:

Father, thank You that You are God of the seed, the process, and the harvest. Forgive me for the times I have tried to force things in my own life and others. Holy Spirit, please develop within me patience and show me where I need to plant to bring forth fruit that You desire. I choose to trust You in every area of my life and others to whom I have invested seed. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Final Thoughts on Holiness, Pt. 30

Throughout Scripture, we are admonished to be holy. The moment we receive Christ, righteousness is imputed to us. He became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). This right-standing with God cannot be earned or bought; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). The moment we bow our knee to the cross of Christ and recognize our need to be free from sin, everything that we need to have our characters transformed is bestowed upon us. The chains of sin are broken, the Holy Spirit is given, and we can walk forward in newness of life, confident of our newfound position in Christ. Holiness, though, requires work.

Holiness is separation from the world to God. It is not a work accomplished in us the moment we accept Jesus Christ. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in us as we walk with the Lord. It is a state of being that we must choose and pursue. As we do, holiness manifests by the working of His power – not our own (Eph. 3:7). Like any relationship in which we choose to separate time and space for another, holiness grows as we separate time for the Lord.

I delineated the benefits of holiness in part 16, entitled Holiness and the New Covenant. Directly following the verses I used in 2 Corinthians 6:12-18, is 2 Corinthians 7:1, in which Paul, referring to these benefits, states, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” This Scripture tells us that we are to accomplish and complete holiness in our lives. By rightly dividing everything, we allow ourselves by the Holy Spirit to be brought to an end, so that with Paul we can confidently declare that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

More than anything, I want to see God. My life verse is Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” I want to wake up to the reality that I serve a Holy God who loves me and desires for me to be holy because He is holy. I want to awaken to such an extent that I will whole-heartedly pursue His character and, in doing so, see my own transformed. I desire to be a vessel of honor (2 Tim. 2:20-21). Admittedly, I haven’t arrived yet. The Holy Spirit has much to complete in Renée, but I am awakened and committed to submitting to the process, no matter how painful it may be.

I won’t ask if you’ve enjoyed this journey. Truth isn’t always easy to hear or read. My prayer is that in some small way, you have become more cognizant of what God commands us when He says to “Be holy.” Perhaps if we all endeavor to bear fruit to holiness, the world will stand up and take notice. Maybe revival, renewal, restoration, and all the other “re” words we throw around will become a reality. The world desperately needs a holy church, and Jesus is returning for one. Let’s not wait another day to pursue holiness.

Let’s Pray:

Lord, I am astounded that You have commanded me to be holy. I don’t have any confidence in my ability to become holy, so I am thankful that the Holy Spirit in me can achieve everything that You desire as I submit to His work. Father, I want to see You! More than anything else, this is my desire. Holy Spirit, I release control of my life, my nature, and my character so that I will triumphantly reflect My Father. When I dig in my heels, keep prodding and convicting until I completely surrender to Your will. Holy Spirit, please make me a vessel of honor that my Father can use. When I get discouraged or fall, comfort me and help me stand back up, confident in You. I thank You for this process because I know that I will awaken in Your likeness when it is complete. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Holiness & the Consequences of Willful Sin, Pt. 29

Yesterday I discussed how we are no longer slaves of sin but are free to righteousness. We can “Just Say ‘No’!” Whether we do or not is our choice. Temptation may come, but I have the Holy Spirit that not only guides me to truth regarding my sin but with every temptation makes a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). So, we have no excuse. I don’t know how many people I have met that claim it’s just their nature or a bad habit. My response is to let the Holy Spirit change your nature and habits. Believe me, when I say I have to preach this to myself many times over again!

Sin centers around the letter “I.” As a believer in Christ, I must decrease, and He must increase. Holiness is faith in action regarding my character. If I make a daily effort to submit to the Holy Spirit so that my flesh decreases and Christ in me can shine, then I do well. But what about willful sin? When I, as a Christian, refuse to submit to Holy Spirit’s convicting work in my life because I enjoy the sin in which I live? Perhaps the sin is more convenient, or to address it would make waves in my family, work, or church, or I don’t want to deal with the pain uprooting the sin would cause. There is danger in being stagnant and refusing to grow.

Interestingly, the Dead Sea is dead not because life doesn’t flow into it but because nothing flows out. It just sits there, unchanged, despite what enters it. It collects minerals necessary for life but never sees that life manifest in it. That is the Christian who sits week after week in the church who refuses to allow the Holy Spirit to flush out the sin in their lives. Remember the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. Let’s look at what Scripture has to say about those whose sin leads them away from God. Hebrews 6:1-6 states,

“Therefore leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame.”

Immediately preceding these verses, Hebrews 5:12-14 describes the spiritually immature who desire to remain in what is defined by the author as the “elementary principles,” which include repentance and eternal judgment. Perhaps we are so quick to discount our sin because we do not often hear preaching on eternal judgment, but we are supposed to, as Christians, “go on to perfection.” This perfection refers to a state of being – namely, holiness. But what happens when we don’t move on toward it, choosing instead to remain in our immaturity?

The implication is that our sin becomes out of control in our lives, and as we fall away from the Lord, it does two things. One, it is like crucifying Christ all over again, and two, it puts Christ to open shame. Instead of making Christ famous, we make Him infamous. Instead of being conduits of His glory to the world around us, we disgrace Him, and by doing so, we continually subject Him to the sin that He went to the cross and bore for us so that we could be free. If we could get a picture of what our sin cost Him, we would be less likely to indulge in it.

We would do well if we could see the cross as less like a fire insurance policy and more like a “get out of jail” free card. Because just like we incarcerate repeat offenders, so sin will easily ensnare and enslave us, hindering our spiritual sight and choking out our ability to bear fruit to holiness. Have we forgotten so quickly that Christ told the woman caught in adultery to go and “sin no more?” That means, from this point forward, I am telling you not to miss the mark. Don’t err or be mistaken in what I am asking you: don’t wander from the truth of your freedom in Me, violating My character and nature in you. Christ would not have commanded it if He were not confident we were able to do so. Again, we have the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, to accomplish this in our lives. This is far more than the lackadaisical attitude many have adopted toward sin that believes, “Oh well, if I sin Christ’s blood covers it.” While true, it is not an excuse to willfully act contrary to God’s desire for us.

Freedom from sin enables holiness to become a reality in our lives, not just hopeful thinking.

Let’s Pray:

Father, forgive me for the times I have taken Christ’s sacrifice of sin lightly. It has never been my intention to get to a place where my sin crucifies and exposes Jesus to the ridicule of the world. Holy Spirit, I am asking You to transform me so that I never act contrary to the nature and character of God you are developing in me. Please show me the consequences of my sin upon Jesus so that I will not indulge my flesh and participate in it. I want holiness to become my reality so that Christ is glorified in me. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, amen.