Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Thou Joy Of Loving Hearts"1 (Lyrics)
Every spring around Memorial Day, I arrive at the cemetery where my parents, brother, and husband are buried, to discover nearly obscured tombstones. Due to abundant rain and warmer temperatures, quack grass quickly sprouts from one tiny seed and spreads out roots to form a thick, deep mat. It's such a chore to uproot, but once my spade severs the roots from the soil, they lift to the sunshine and dry out, and they've lost their grip. Soon, all the nasty stuff is pulled up and stuffed into paper sacks to carry home to my garbage pail. I leave behind hardy marigolds and tidy gravestones.
Recently, as I tugged hard at a particularly stubborn clump of roots, the thought came to me that many sins are like these quack grass roots. When we give in to temptation, a seed of desire takes root in our hearts and quickly spreads and becomes a habit. One moment of pleasure eventually affects every area of life. As Paul wrote, sin takes control once it's embedded.
Romans 7:24-25 – Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (NLT)
We often rely upon our own consistent, intensive efforts to break free from a habit, like smoking or overeating, and then continue to find ourselves struggling. Like the quack grass at the cemetery, uprooting sin becomes next to impossible, but there is a remedy other than our own struggling efforts.
Just as my spade severs roots from soil, so God severs the pull that sin has on us when we turn to Him. Paul points to Jesus Christ Who conquered sin and death on the cross. While this might seem like pie in the sky to some, once a person accepts Jesus' sacrifice for our sins, something mysterious happens. The root of sin becomes severed from the soil of our souls, and then, exposed to the light of the Son, it withers, losing its tug on us. Some receive instantaneous freedom, while others find freedom in a gradual process that requires the support of others. Over time, they experience liberation from the sin that enslaved them.
John 8:36 – Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (NKJV)
Prayer: Father God, we confess that we have failed at breaking away from the things that enslave us, and we need Your help to be free from them. Forgive us and liberate us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.