I learned another lesson. Actually, I relearned it. Monday, I started the day off with a strong prayer session, and the day was fantastic! Yesterday, I didn’t, and it was a struggle. I wonder if there is a correlation there. Hmmm. Why is it so hard to get it through my head that my life is so much better when I truly connect with God day by day?
For example, Monday I enjoyed the fruit of self-control. Yesterday, it was a battle. Rather than get on my knees, I made a day out of suffering. How foolish! Even more foolish is that I didn’t start the day out right when I came off such a remarkable day the day before. It’s a day by day journey.
Sin drives a wedge between me and God. It’s no good. I hate it. Even though I am struggling, I am learning some things. I won’t kill this sin when I battle it occasionally. The Pilgrim preacher John Owen had this to say:
With all troubling sin, no matter whether it encourages us to do evil or hinders us from doing good, the rule is the same: it must be mortified or it will rise again. A man may beat down the bitter fruit from an evil tree until he is weary but while the root of the tree continues to abide in strength and vigour, the beating down of the present fruit will not hinder it from bearing more evil fruit. This is the folly of some men; they set themselves with all earnestness and diligence against the breaking out of a lust, but they leave the principle and root untouched. They will make little or no progress in this work of true mortification.John Owen, “The Mortification of Sin, Abridged and made easy to read by Richard Rushing” Puritan Paperbacks, p. 35-36
This hits home for me. I live in the country and have a considerable amount of land that I have planted in native prairie grasses. It is a diverse mixture with deep roots that hold the soil and water extremely well. It also chokes out common noxious weeds, like thistle. However, there is one plant that is able to thrive and dominate in this otherwise impenetrable environment – the Box Elder tree. Once this bugger gets started, it is very, very difficult to control.
I know this from experience. Once you cut the tree, it goes into hyper-drive and sends up shoots like crazy. If you ignore it for a season or two, you will be shocked at how a new stand has taken over the area that previously only had one tree! It won’t give up until the root is completely dead. There is no other tree in this geographical area like it. It is simply awful.
Kill It – Day By Day
In order to kill the Box Elder, I must either dig the root out in its entirety, something that isn’t practical without heavy equipment, or I must not allow the new shoots to sprout any leaves. That means regularly mowing it to keep it down. This is tricky because I don’t want to kill the desirable vegetation around it. It takes a lot of care; but when done properly, the tree can eventually be killed.
So it is with sin. In order to kill it, I must weaken it first. Then, I must continually inflict blows. Eventually, it will die. I must be careful that I don’t claim victory and let my guard down. Sin will lay low and look for another opportunity. Never underestimate the craftiness of sin, and, never underestimate just how much it seeks to destroy you.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
This is serious business. I need to treat it as such. Connecting with God day by day is vital. First thing in the morning.
I highly recommend John Owen’s “The Mortification of Sin.” You can find it here. Be warned. It’s a book that will greatly trouble your soul. It’s easy to read, but you won’t like what it reveals in you. Here’s a link to a related post of mine that you might find interesting. Oh, and please sign up to receive my posts by email. Given the trajectory of censorship, it’s better to stay connected directly with people you enjoy reading.
Father, I am enjoying the journey. I pray that others are finding encouragement in these posts. Bless them as you have blessed me. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers