This morning the air was scented with wildflowers and the earthy smell of freshly washed land. Storms moved through our little town last night, awakening me with lighting and thunder and the reminder that God is the best waterer of gardens.
I slipped on my Sloggers and was met by the four noisy goats who think they are always starving. They have access to hay, minerals and whatever is growing in their pen around the clock but their favorite is the livestock feed, full of grain and molasses.
I can only give them a small amount of the grain, for they have no “off” button when it comes to eating it. I joke that it is “goat crack” and, well, it is. I have heard many stories of goats developing fatal cases of bloat after breaking into grain stores and gorging themselves. Don’t worry, I keep mine in a shed outside their pen. They have no access, except for what I give them in my little measuring cup.
Each morning I sprinkle a small amount in their trough. As they greedily climb all over one another to eat out of the same spot (even though the trough is plenty long for them to space out comfortably) I run my hands over them, pressing their bellies and making sure their rumens are soft and healthy.
Parasites are the bane of a goat owner’s existence, and I have learned that their entire lives will be spent fighting them off. It’s not a matter of if they will get parasites, it is a matter of when.
Speaking of parasites…
I recently bought a new Bible and decided to break it in by studying the book of Romans, fresh with new highlighters (purple!) and reading anew the old, old words of a man whose life was stopped in his tracks by the Risen Christ.
Romans is my favorite book because it is full of hope for the believer. Paul addresses the conflict of works and grace, how the two oppose one another. He reminds Israel that they were chosen yet wanted to continue working their way to God while the Gentiles, those dirty Gentiles, were brought into the Kingdom of God because they simply believed.
How dare it be that simple! But it is.
Paul also reminds his readers of the fact that the power of sin, the parasite that refuses to die, is very present and real but has no power that we, the children of God, don’t give it. If we know who and Whose we are, we can recognize sin for what it is and have victory over it through Christ!
In my last post, I reminded you of the importance of reading the Bible for yourself and, well, here I am again. Like my goats, you and I will fight off parasites as long as we live on this earth. The power of sin will try to get it’s hooks in us, to multiply and take us over…and take us out. Yes, sin was defeated on the Cross, but the power of sin is still alive in the world. It attacks our minds and even uses our own voice to deceive us.
Have you ever had a thought that sounded like you, but you have no idea where it came from? A thought that troubled you, discouraged you or led you to a place mentally that you didn’t want to go? Yep, that is the power, the parasite, of sin at work. So how do we make it stop?
We have to take our medicine.
When I give my goats their dewormer, it causes their immune system to ramp up and fight off parasites, expelling them and cleaning out their digestive system so the food they eat makes them grow stronger instead of feeding the nasty critters that were hanging out in their guts.
Sin is a very present danger that will infect our lives and make us spiritually sick if we don’t actively ingest the medicine that will enable us to fight it off. It will suck the life out of us and cause us to live in exhaustion, confusion, and deception. But the Truth contained in the words of Scripture sink deep into us if we let it. Truth strengthens us from the inside, helping us recognize the things that are making us sick so we can expel them from our lives and stand tall and strong in the power of God.
TRUTH is Jesus. We know this because He described Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) A close walk with Jesus is the antidote to the power of sin. When we allow Him to draw near, run His hands over us and identify what is making us sick, we are on the way to freedom from the chains that so easily entangle us.
And how do we develop a close walk with Jesus? Here I go again. It is only through time spent with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His life-giving words over and over again that we can walk in intimacy with Him. He is the cure for sin. He is the only way to silence the deceiver and grow strong in faith.
So, once again, I’m telling you to get out your Bibles and start reading. Take your medicine.
Fight off the parasite of sin and live in the freedom that was purchased for you on the cross.
More information about the Romans Bible Study will be coming soon, so check back often! If you want to be sure not to miss anything, just subscribe to Arundelle Green and you will receive an email every time there is a new post.