GET OFF HIS LAWN!

In this world that preaches ‘Sin is in. Sin is trend,’ there are many strangely silent Shepherds, but I’m not one of them. While they condone sin by their own silence, I am here stepping up on my soapbox to preach what God has called me to preach. The Lord Jesus Christ’s message is ‘I became sin for you so that you can become the righteousness of God IN ME.’ This is His good news in a world of bad news.

I know what you’re saying, “How do I do it? I try to live right, but I just can’t seem to do it.”

That was me exactly. I tried to live right, but I just couldn’t seem to get it right. I kept falling headfirst back into the sin that looked so trendy and felt so good. I didn’t want to be the little wren among a world of brightly coloured exotic birds. I wanted God’s righteousness, but I wanted it while I wore the trendy sin clothes. To put it another way, I thought I could have both.

Have both? Jesus says that’s impossible. He didn’t die for nuthin’. He didn’t become sin for us so that we could continue to live in sin. He didn’t free us so that we could be bound, but that’s how I was—bound. I thought I was free, but like Paul tells us in Romans 6, Christ did not free us to sin, He freed us from sin.

After He raised me up in October 2012, He showed me how to be free in Him. He showed me and I am to show you.

He took me to Galatians 5. Have you been there before? I spend much time there, because Galatians 5 is a chapter that sets us free. And keeps us free. So here we go. Are you ready? God’s going to clean out your heart and His soap is the Word of God.

I’ll start about midway through the chapter. This is where I usually start: verse 16. It’s the soap that cleans out my heart, because God’s Word teaches us the difference between what is God, and  is good, and what is not God, and is not good.

Galatians 5:16

“But I say, walk in the spirit and not in the flesh, and you will not fulfil the desires of the flesh.”

Remember that the flesh here is the body of sin which is condemned. It goes by feelings and what looks good, and it will always lead you wrong. The flesh is God-less. The spirit is God-filled.

“For the flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire (in your heart) to do.

But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.” You are not subject to the law. You are free from the law.

Now this is the part I used to avoid seeing. Usually, I’d just skip this list and jump right on down to the good sounding part—that good fruit part, but not anymore.  The Lord showed me that I need to see the part that looks ugly in order to be free to grow the part that is lovely, so here goes.

“Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious—Adultery, fornication (this is sex outside of marriage), uncleanness ( Yes folks, I’m going to say  it. Uncleanness is more of what God does not call good: Homosexuality.), impurity, indecency, greed (which is idolatry), witchcraft (sorcery in its numerous forms), enmity (hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness), strife, anger, divisions, jealously, selfishness, heresy (error, removed from the truth, but thinking it is truth—teachings, traditions, philosophies, fables and legends in place of the truth. Some in the world call this “free-thinking”. God calls it the lie, and I call it the lie), envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like.

I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously …”

See there, Paul is warning too. He’s warning the same as me, and both of us are saying what God is saying,

“…that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

What’s that? We can’t have both? We can’t wear the trendy clothes the world is wearing and be right and good at the same time? No, this is what the worldlies are preaching, but this is not what God is preaching.

These are the fruit of the flesh, the fruit of the wrong tree. This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the fruit Adam and Eve chose long ago.

This fruit is oh-so-trendy. It looks good and feels good, and it tastes delicious, but it’s not good.

Paul says if we walk in the flesh, if we do these things, we will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Are you listening? We will not.  We will not.

When we eat the feel-good fruit and walk the feel-good way, we are not walking by faith.

Can’t do both at the same time. Either we are walking by feeling (appearance) or we’re walking by faith. One or the other. Never both. Walking by sight is walking by feeling. Walking by faith is walking by decision.  We decide. We say. We do.

God tells us plainly, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. For we must believe that He is—“

He is what? We must believe that He IS the one and only true God and make a decision to follow Him.

God does not do any of the things on the above list. I must keep deciding and re-deciding or choosing and re-choosing over and over again to follow Him not sin.

Many times a day I am tempted, and distracted. James called it being lured away. Would you like to know when I get tempted the most? Right after I teach against sin, and right after God gives me revelation so I can give it to you. God doesn’t cause this, but He does use it to refine and develop my character, and to keep me humble before Him. He refines me so you can learn and be refined. He shows mercy to me, so that He may show His mercy to you. He comforts me so that He may through me comfort you. (I Cor., chapter 1)

The devil goes fishing. He’s fishing for souls, and He’s a clever one. He even knows the bait I like (my flesh) best. He uses nice juicy temptations, all those things I used to love so much. These are my weaknesses.  God says, “Know your weaknesses.” Mine are just about everything, so I’m easy to fish for, but getting harder to catch.

Have you seen those baby fish, the ones who practically jump on the fishing line? They swallow the bait every time. Then there’s the granddaddy fish of them all. He’s the hard to catch one, the nigh impossible one. He’s older and wiser than the babies. Yes, he loves the bait, and yes, he can be tempted, but he refuses to bite because he’s wiser than the babies. That old fish has been around, and he’s learned that the bait might look good and oh-so-tasty, but if he takes it, he will die.

That bait looks delicious, but it’s really DIE-licious. This is the difference between a baby Christian and a mature Christian.

I’ve been asked, “Pray for me that I won’t be tempted.” Believe me, if I could pray that, I’d be praying it for me too.

True is I can’t pray it for either of us. I can and do pray that you and I will not fall into temptation.  I can and do pray that we’ll grow up in the Word of God and stop taking the bait.

I pray Ephesians 2 for you and for me, “I bow my knees before the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He will grant me and you, according to His riches in glory the POWER…the POWER…the POWER…

To become mighty through His Spirit in my inner man, and in your inner man,

That Christ, the Messiah, may dwell (remain) in our hearts THROUGH FAITH…”

There’s faith again. Faith not looks, not feel, not fear. Faith.

Are you thinking by now, “Well, I might as well give up then. I can’t do it.”

I agree. Neither can I. Neither could Jesus. The Father did the works through Him. (John 14:10-12) He’s telling us, “You do what you see me do. You walk as I walk.”

 You give up trying to do it yourself. You heard me. Give up. Give up your SELF and let God do it through you. (Romans 12 and Ephesians 2:8-10. For that matter, study the entire chapter from start to finish).

Give up and keep on giving up. Give up and follow after the fruit of the spirit so that Christ be formed in you instead of the world.

For if you don’t follow after the bait like a baby fish, if you grow in wisdom like that granddaddy fish, you may be distracted, but you won’t get caught. Just when the devil tries to set that hook and reel you in, you will wriggle off by the power of God. You will learn how to resist that DIE-licious bait on the devil’s pole.

Remember that movie about an old house? Can’t remember what it’s called but at the beginning a little girl is riding her tricycle down the sidewalk. She is singing, “Tra-la-la-la—Hello trees…Tra-la-la-la—hello grass,” when suddenly she has a trike crash, and her trike ends up on the lawn of this old creepy house. The old man who owns the house (or is owned by it) is outside raking leaves. The little girl steps onto the lawn to get her trike when the old man asks, “Do you want to be eaten?”

“No-o-o-o,” she replies.

“THEN GET OFF MY LAWN!”

The devil’s like this. He’s the old man, the head of the house. The lawn is the world. We’re the little girls and boys, only he won’t warn us, because he’s hungry for souls. He’s a greedy one who can’t get enough. Peter tells us he’s like a roaring lion walking to and fro across the earth actively looking for anyone he can devour.

The devil’s catching all the tasty fish he can for his fish fry. Soooo, he’s not going to warn you. He wants you to think it’s a good thing to be caught.

The devil won’t warn you, but God is. He’s speaking through my mouth and my pen,

“Do you want to be eaten?”

“No-o-o-o.”

“Then, GET OFF THE DEVIL’S LAWN!”

If you walk in the spirit and not in the flesh, you will not trespass on the devil’s lawn.

You will be tempted, and you might even start to, but the knowledge of God’s Word you’re feeding on will begin to satisfy you more than any of those shiny things you see on the devil’s lawn.

You’ll turn and look at the other tree, the tree of life, and you’ll reach for its fruit instead.

“The fruit of the spirit is love…joy…peace (This is Gods peace, Shalom: wholeness, completeness, harmony, health, absence of agitation. Hey, wanna know something? God’s kind of peace is SALVATION.)…long suffering…gentleness…goodness…faithfulness…meekness (humbleness, humility, but not fear, ; bold, courageous)…SELF-control.”

You’ll see the long-lasting fruit of God’s tree, the fruit He’s been showing you all along, and you’ll see how good it is. You’ll see and eat from it instead.  You’ll not find it in a communion wafer. His body, His bread is the bread of life. His bread is the Word of Life and it alone will give you life.

The very minute you see God’s fruit, and start eating it instead, the blindness will vanish. Those fish scales will fall from your eyes and you’ll see the fruit on the devil’s tree for what it really is.

His fruit’s not beautiful. His fruit is rotten and bitter. He’s saying, “C’mon. It’s delicious.”

But you’ll see it as it really is: DIE-licious. The Word of God is the eye-opener.

Each time you find yourself looking at the things on the devil’s lawn, and seeing them as beautiful, and shiny, and tasty, turn away. Run back to that tree of life and pick some of its fruit instead.

Go ahead, pick it. See its goodness…see the beauty of holiness. Righteousness only looks like a wren to the world, not to God, and not to us who are actively following Him.

Running away from the sin tree to the righteous tree does not come naturally. It takes effort. You decide to do it, then you act. Your body will protest, “Didn’t you see the OTHER fruit? It’s better.”

Don’t you listen.  It’s a trap. The body is condemned. It’s dead. Your spirit is alive IN CHRIST JESUS. When Jesus comes back, you’ll get a new body. Until then, keep the old body under you.

Control SELF. Keep it under the real you. Keep it under the spirit. You will learn how as you keep looking at Jesus. He is your life. Let Him live through you by faith.

“Love…joy…peace (the God-kind)…long suffering…kindness…gentleness…goodness…faithfulness…meekness…SELF-control against such there is no law. Grow this fruit, and walk in it, and you will fulfil the law.

The seed of this fruit is growing in you if you have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and not the world. This seed is love. This is God’s seed. The world does not have God’s seed in them, this is why we must stop hearing them and trespassing on their lawn, and nibbling on their bait.

We’re in a world filled with distractions, and ran by a very clever devil. But you are not alone to fend for yourselves like those little baby fish. God knows you can’t do it alone. He knows, you know! So He’s made a way for you to walk as Jesus walked. If you do, you will not sin habitually, because you will be walking IN HIM, and IN HIM there is no sin. (I John 3:5, 9)

In Him there is no sin.

So you can always tell when you’re NOT  in Him. You’re not IN HIM when you find yourself over on the devil’s lawn, seeing the fruit of his tree as beautiful, good and delicious.

The world says it is, but whadda they know? They’re dying. The devil’s fruit is not beautiful, not good, and not delicious. The devil’s fruit is DIE-licious.

“Do you want to be eaten?”

“No-o-o-o.”

“THEN, GET OFF THE DEVIL’S LAWN!”

If you’ve been over there munching away at the fruit he says ‘tastes better’, AGAIN, all is not hopeless. Go to the one who saved you by His grace, not cause you’re worthy, but cause He’s worthy.

If you were worthy in yourself, you wouldn’t need a Saviour, you’d be able to save yourself.

But this is not the truth, the truth is, “when you were weak and could not save yourself, Christ died for you.”

And you know, you’re still weak, and so am I. We still need the Saviour who loved us enough to die. He died so we could be free. He died so that through Him, by His strength, we could be strong enough to resist the sin tree, stop trespassing on the devil’s lawn, and be free to let Him, the sinless one, live through us.  He became weak so we can be strong in HIM. He became sin so that we can be free from sin.

Are you getting it yet? Even if you’ve messed up, and it’s the 39th time, come back to the God of your Salvation, and say, “Lord Jesus, please forgive me. I was over there eating the devil’s bait again. You told me not to, but I did it anyway. I recommit to you. I choose you. You are my strength. I can’t do it without you. I repent and I turn and follow you. I didn’t need saving  just once, I need saving all the time. I’m not worthy, but you are.”

Go to Him. Return, and He will forgive you. Go to Him and His blood will cleanse you.

“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Once you’ve done this, I want you to do something else that the Lord told me to do, “Forgive yourself.”

Then, stay in front of the tree of life. Each time you start seeing the devil’s fruit as good and tasty, pick some of the fruit right in front of you, from the tree of life, and your eyes will stop playing tricks on you. You’ll see the devil’s fruit for what it really is in this lawn of fantasy—DIE-licious.

If you eat its fruit, you will die.

Bow your knees with me now before the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  the one of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He will grant you and me, according to His riches in glory, the POWER to become mighty through His Spirit in our inner man---

That Christ may be formed in you and in me…

That you, being rooted and established in love, may have the STRENGTH to understand what is the breadth, the length, the height, the depth of the love of Christ—the love our body of sin will never understand by its earthly knowledge, the love that chose death so that we can have life IN HIM.

Christ is the POWER. Christ is the POWER.

Be filled with His power, so that we will be filled up to the fullest measure with God. Does it sound amazing? It should.

Stay in the Word, follow after Him, and you will grow up to become that granddaddy fish, scarred from countless battles with the enemy, scarred by the many times you’ve been hooked. You will be like Him, like Jesus, and strong in His power, scarred from the many times you’ve been hooked, but always, through Christ’s power, managing to wriggle off that hook before its set.

“Thank you, Holy Spirit for reopening my eyes, so that I can see, thanks to your Word, that the world’s fruit is not delicious, just like you said. The world’s fruit is DIE-licous.”

If I eat its fruit I will die.

Open that Bible. Eat its fruit and you won’t be eaten. By the power of God within you, through faith. The power is Christ. Stay in the Word, and not only will you be the fish that got away, but you’ll show others how to get away too.

“Now unto him, the Father, who is able to do super-abundantly above all that we can ask or think or imagine or dream, according to that POWER actively working in us…“

That power is CHRIST, and if you have turned to follow Him, as I have, that power is in you.

“Unto Him, the Father, be the glory in us---Christ is the GLORY (If you don’t believe me look at John 1 and keep looking at it until you see His power and His glory)—in the church (that’s us, not a building or a denomination/ division. We are  the building) in Christ Jesus (Where are we? IN CHRIST JESUS) forever and ever (How long?), throughout all ages. AMEN.”