Sunday, March 03, 2013

March 3, 2013 … Feeding the Big Dog or the Bad God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 62

Passage of the Day: Hebrews 12: 15 (in the context of verses 14-15) [NLT] …  
14 Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God. Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison. 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Hebrews, Chapter 12 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Galatians 5: 19-21 : [The fruit of the flesh] …[NLT] …  
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 

Reference Passage #2: Galatians 5: 22-23 : [NLT] … [The fruit of the Spirit] …  
22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. 

My Journal for Today: Brother Os Hillman, my devotional editor/writer, has brought us to a powerful and practical highlight passage of New Testament Scripture this morning. Hebrews 12: 15 exhorts Christians to a truth that all too often hinders and handicaps the life and work of disciples of Christ; … and that is BITTERNESS. Whoever the author of Hebrews was, he knew that if a root of bitterness were to grow in the life of any Christian, God’s grace could not grow and that believer could not experience the outcomes of God’s enriching, enabling, and empowering grace.

 My friend, … there’s an old word picture, illustrating this when it comes to the choices we make as Christians. And the story goes that there are two dogs living in born-again Christians – the dog of “FLESH” and another, the “SPIRIT.” And the dog which will become dominant and rule in our lives is the dog we feed the most. So, which one is flourishing and growing in us?

The Apostle Paul wrote about this comparison in his passage on the fruit of the flesh when compared to the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 6: 19-23, copied and contrasted above). We can choose which fruit thrive in our lives as Christians, the fruit of the flesh … or the fruit of God’s Spirit; and we make that choice by the decisions we make and the behaviors we choose to act out in our lives. And one of those choices, one that blunts the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT growing and maturing in our lives, is the choice to hold onto grudges, anger, or unforgiveness; and that is the root of bitterness we allow to grow in our hearts.

Oh, yes, there are other flesh-driven choices in our lives which can block our experiencing the fruit of God’s Spirit (see Galatians 6: 22-23); and those choices (see Galatians 5: 19-21) will only result in the outcomes which that dog of the “FLESH” can produce and which blunt or dampen our experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. And one of the most common of these is the fruit of the flesh which we feed with bitterness.

My fellow disciple, are you holding on to bitterness in your life? If so, you are feeding that dog, FLESH, and it is unlikely that any of the fruit from that wonderdog, “SPIRIT,” are growing in your life. But if you can cut out that root of bitterness from your life, by forgiving someone with whom you’ve held a grudge or by letting go of some long-standing anger, or by dropping any attitude of covetousness you’re holding for someone, you can begin to choose to feed that Spirit-dog in you; and when you do, you’re going to begin experiencing His Fruit, which are the characteristics of Christlikeness Paul listed in Galatians 5: 22-23.

What about it, friend, … do you want to hold on to and feed that fleshly dog of bitterness; or would you prefer to have the BIG DOG of God’s Spirit to provide you with His grace, which will produce in you love, joy, peace, and all the other fruit of His Spirit? … Yeah, it should be a no-brainer, shouldn’t it? So, why then do we choose to feed that BAD DOG of bitterness?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank you for helping me to avoid feeding the bad dog – bitterness - and letting your grace flow in my life from my being here this morning to feed Your big dog of The Holy Spirit. … Amen

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