Dealing with sin.
When Jesus talked about people and the fruit they bear, He likened us to trees. He said a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit. This is a marvelous analogy. At this time, I will look at only one side of the coin, that is what makes a tree bad.
In order to understand sin, we need to go all the way back to the fall. Here we find that because Adam and Eve sinned, they passed down a sinful tendency to us, a propensity for doing wrong, an evil inclination, the flesh or sinful nature.
Now religion that is moralistic and humanistic looks at the fruit of sin and says, " Let's get a saw and cut the branches off." So off we go, cutting off the branches of sin, but when we cut off one, five more take it's place! So next we get an axe, and we say, " Let's cut down the tree!! Down with the tree, death to the tree!!!" So boom the tree hits the ground, and we celebrate and throw a party and go on our merry ways, never realizing that the stump of the tree is still alive, and vavoom, a little sprout comes out and begins to grow again. Additionally, if we don't pay attention, the second tree may even be bigger than the first.
God says that it is what is in the heart that defiles a man. Therefore, we must look much deeper than the outgrowths/ fruits of the flesh, and attack sin at it's very roots, which is the flesh itself. Now this can only be accomplished if we let God do it for us, for only God can change the heart and kill the flesh, (although we can and must deprive and starve the flesh by denying it and walking in the Spirit). The apostle Paul said that if we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, we will live, and if we walk after the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
So we see that man tries to cut off branches, or chop down the tree, but God wants to deal with and kill sin in us at the very roots. This is precisely one of the things that Christ's death was intended to do. ( Romans 8:3)
Therefore, the next time a cuss word comes out of your mouth, next time a angry outburst explodes from you and shakes the room, the next time you give in to a lustful desire, don't just say "I will do better next time" or I will reform myself and improve in these areas." Instead, look to God to cleanse and purify your heart and uproot that monster we call sin. Only a pure heart can lead to righteousness and holiness of life, and only God can wash a heart and make it clean. Also remember that the battle begins in the mind, and it is the Word of God that renews our mind. Spend much time in the Word, and put some callouses on your knees while you're at it.
1 John 1:7- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
2 Corinthians 7:1- Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.