"Are you kidding me?" Though their artificial Christmas tree hid Lindsay from view, it did little to hide her irritation.
Lindsay's younger brother Tony moseyed over to inspect the commotion. He saw suspicious piles of papery dark green needles, and--"Hey! What are you doing?" Tony demanded.
"What does it look like I'm doing!" Lindsay waved wire cutters.
"Like you're hacking our Christmas tree to death!" Tony glared.
Lindsay calmly followed Tony's gaze to the piles of severed light strands. "I'm removing the dead lights so I can put new ones on."
Tony relaxed. "Then why are you upset?"
"Because this tree came pre-lit once upon a time ago, so not only are the light strands twisted around every single branch, they're also clipped on and zip-tied! Every confounded clip is tedious to remove," Lindsay growled as she struggled with another.
"Just put the new lights on top of the dead ones," Tony suggested.
Lindsay sighed and took a break. "That's actually what we did at first. But those lights are dying too. So I'm doing what I should have done to begin with."
Tony shrugged. He wouldn't bother with such painstaking work.
A key turning the lock announced that Devon, their oldest brother, was home. "What's all this?" Devon asked on his way to the kitchen.
"Hello to you too," Lindsay huffed. "You tell him," she muttered at Tony. She disappeared behind the tree again.
"She's taking off the dead stuff and putting new lights on," Tony answered from the couch. "But it's taking a while."
"Sounds about right," Devon said. "That's a sermon right there--take off the old self and put on the new."
Tony scrunched up his face. "Huh?"
"The old self means the sinful lives we had before Jesus saved us, and the new self is who Jesus transforms us to be." Devon joined Lindsay to help. "It's like our tree. You aren't throwing it away--it's perfectly good--just the lights are dead. Jesus makes us perfectly good too. But it's a process hacking off our dead, sinful attitudes and actions so we can shine brighter with His love."
Tony shifted uneasily where he was sprawled. "I guess I see what you mean," he said, getting off the couch. "I'll help too."
-Pearl AllardHOW ABOUT YOU?
Does taking off the old habits and attitudes of sin feel tedious or discouraging? Jesus’s grace enables us to stop sinning and start serving Him. But sometimes it’s hard. The next time you get discouraged, celebrate the work God has already done in you and remember He is the One at work inside you, helping you remove dead sins and put on new, loving attitudes.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Ephesians 4:22-24 (KJV)
Take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires…put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness. (CSB)