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We have talked about how BLACK represents the sin that kills us, RED the blood that saves us, and WHITE the purity that makes us an example of God’s saving grace. Now, we will talk about my favorite color GREEN and what it represents.
Being a comic book fan, the first thing that I think of when I see the color GREEN is one of my favorite superheroes, Green Lantern. In the comic book, the Green Lantern fights crime using a power ring that emits green light that he can construct into anything he can imagine. What charges his ring though is willpower, which means the stronger his will, the stronger he gets. Because of this, I tend to associate the color GREEN with willpower. But the more common emotion the color green is associated with is envy right? I’m sure you have heard somebody tell you that you’re green with envy when you look longingly at what someone else has. The reason this color was associated with envy was because of a Greek idea that jealously leads to bile production which then gives the skin a yellow-green pallor. Surprisingly though, the other thing that is often associated with the color GREEN is growth, something that is the completely opposite of this sickening color. The reason for this association is likely trees and plants, which almost always appear green if they are healthy. In a similar way, for this set of color messages, the color GREEN represents spiritual growth. As a green plant grows stronger and taller when fed and watered properly, we as Christians will grow stronger in faith and love and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we invest time in our spiritual well-being. We talked about how in the past we used to have a love for sin. Then we talked about how the love of God brought salvation into our lives and a change of heart. Now, we will talk about how we can show our love for God through spiritual growth. By using the color GREEN as an acronym, we can see various ways in which we can grow spiritually.
G – GATHER with other believers.
One of the most important and best ways to grow as a Christian is to gather with other Christians. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Very often, Christians today like to tell themselves that they don’t need to go to church. They have their own personal relationship with Christ and can grow at home by themselves through self-study. And if they ever want to hear a sermon, they can just listen to a podcast or a TV preacher. But what they don’t understand is that they miss out on two opportunities when they don’t go to church. First, they miss out on the opportunity to learn from other believers, who can share their experiences and knowledge. Second, they miss out on the opportunity to encourage others. Paul encourages believers to encourage each other in I Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” As Christians, by attending church, we can encourage other believers to follow Christ, can comfort others who are struggling, and can use our gifts to build the kingdom of God. Gathering with other believers helps us grow by giving us opportunities to use our spiritual gifts as well as benefit from the gifts of others.
R – READ the Bible
When you want to learn about something new, what is the first action that you take? Is it not to Google the topic and read up a little bit about it? Then, if there are certain books that will bring you more knowledge on the topic, then you read those as well. Reading the Bible is one of the best if not the best way to grow in your relationship with God. Not only does it give you more factual knowledge about Him, but it will always, and I will emphasize ALWAYS increase your personal knowledge of Him, for He will begin to speak to you about Himself. There are so many examples in which a person decided to just pick up the Bible and rapid spiritual growth occurred in his life. Even unbelievers, who pick up the Word of God, are moved by it to come to a saving knowledge of Him. My own personal testimony begins with reading the Bible, for it was a promise to my dad to read the whole Bible through at least once in my life that readied my heart to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the daily Bible reading habit that was established because of my Dad’s appeal. Another example is with one of the students in my youth/college group class. By doing the Bible reading assigned, you can see the growth in her spiritual life exponentially grow. While others who do not read, don’t understand the connections between different passages in the Bible that I share about, she does. I am so proud of her.
Psalm 1:1-3 states, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” It is by meditating on the Word of the Lord that a righteous man grows strong and established in the faith. It is by reading His Word, reflecting on it, and obeying it that fruit is produced. If we are so willing to read other books in this life, why would we not spend time reading the most beautiful and powerful book ever written?
E – ENTREAT and EXALT the Lord.
Going hand in hand with reading the Bible is this next thing that can help your growth and maturity as a Christian – ENTREATING and EXALTING the Lord or in simpler terms, praying to and praising the Lord. Jesus Christ knew the important role that prayer had on His relationship with God and made sure to spend time in prayer with His Heavenly Father, even if it meant waking up very early or staying up late at night (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). If our Lord, the Son of God, found prayer to be important in His life, why wouldn’t we? Throughout the Bible, we are reminded of how powerful and important prayer can be. James 5:16 says, “…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” And story after story in the Bible share the testimony of how God listened to the prayers and pleas of His people to bring about some miracle, whether it be Elijah asking for rain after a famine, Joshua asking for the sun to stand still as he continued in battle, or many kings of Judah asking God to deliver them from a massive army. Prayer is so powerful.
But prayer is not just about asking God for things in a formal manner; it is about having a personal conversation with God so that you can learn to see things the way He sees them. When you want to learn about somebody, one of the best ways to do it is by having a conversation. Why do you think people don’t suggest a first date to be a movie? You don’t talk during movies and won’t be able to learn about each other. If we want to grow in our relationship with God, we need to spend time daily in prayer with Him, learning to bring our requests to Him as well as praise and thank Him.
In addition to entreating the Lord with you requests, we need to exalt His name in worship. By lifting His name on high, remembering what He has done for you, and praising Him for who He is, we learn to be grateful to our Lord God and Heavenly Father. So often, we as Christians take for granted all that God has done for us. He has given us salvation. He has given us this life we live today. He has surrounded us with the family and friends we have. How can we not say thanks? How can we not have a heart of thanksgiving?
E – EXCISE the sin in your life.
As we talked about with the color BLACK, sin is an absence of God, and having sin in one’s heart will cause the relationship between you and God to be hindered, because God cannot be in the presence of sin. In John 15:4, Christ says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” To abide in Christ is to maintain a relationship with Him, which you cannot do with sin in your life. The only way to bear fruit as a Christian is to abide in Him, so if sin is in your heart, you cannot grow. You need to allow God to prune the sin in your life and all things that distract from Him and abide in Him. Hebrews 12:1 says, “…Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…” Sin prevents us from fulfilling the utmost potential God has set for us; instead, it takes away from our strength and time and abilities to serve Him.
One example that comes from biology is cancer. When there is a cancer in the body, the rest of the cells in that area are robbed of nutrients, because the cancer requires more energy, more nutrients, more blood. The rest of the tissue suffers when the cancer is present. Eventually, the cancer spreads and starts robbing nutrients throughout the rest of the body. To prevent this spread and nutrient loss, a doctor must excise the cancer, until it is removed, the body will continue to suffer. Sin is like a cancer, in that, it takes away growth from the Christian and as it stays continues to spread to other parts of a Christian’s life. To allow for proper growth, the sin must be excised.
N – Make NEW BELIEVERS.
One of the greatest opportunities a Christian has is to make other Christians. This opportunity was presented to us in Matthew 28:19-20, when Christ told His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” We have a chance to help build the kingdom of God. We have an opportunity to help people to know the Savior and Lord who changed our lives. We have an opportunity to introduce a new and great incomparable Friend to others we know. How can we not want to take part in it? By making new believers, we grow even more. Sometimes, we think that by teaching, we won’t learn anything, but the teacher almost always learns more. I have grown more as a Christian teaching than when I spend my own personal time reading the Bible. That is because when I prepare for a lesson, I have to put in more effort to prepare. By sharing the Gospel, we learn what we know, what we don’t know, and what we still need to know. We learn how to defend our faith, when we are challenged. We learn how to show our love, when we are faced with a situation where we need to show comfort. And sometimes, we even learn our weaknesses, when an unbeliever calls us out on a sin. By sharing the Gospel, we can learn a lot about ourselves and how we can grow spiritually.
The color GREEN represents growth and is an essential part of our Christian lives. We need to spend time with God in prayer, Bible reading, church, worship, and discipleship, because they will help us grow in our relationship with God and make us more effective in serving His kingdom. Take the time to think about which parts of growth, you need to work on today and make a decision to improve that this next week. Maybe you need to start an ongoing communication with God through prayer throughout the day. Maybe you need to start reading your Bible daily and spending at least 15 minutes of a devotional time. Maybe you need to share the Gospel with a friend. Maybe you need to remove a sin in your life. Whatever it may be, take the proper steps necessary to become a strong branch that bears fruit for the Lord.
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The color song that I learned in elementary school went like this: “My heart was BLACK with sin, until the Savior came in. His precious blood (RED) I know has washed me WHITE as snow.” So the next color we will focus on in this series of “Color Messages” is WHITE. So what do you think of when you see the color WHITE? Most people would agree with the song and say snow, because it is the whitest thing we associate with in nature. It is pure and clean when it first falls from the sky and leaves a beautiful blanket of white on the mountaintops. The soft powder just screams to be carved with a board or played with. Some people will be a little more creative and say that they think of a marshmallow, a Q-tip, or a blank piece of paper – all of which are common household items that are just plain white. A scientist would say that WHITE is a result of the absorption of all the color wavelengths of visible light into our eyes – the exact opposite of black. But when I think of the color WHITE, I think of weddings, because the bride almost always wears white. The reason for this is because of what the color WHITE has represented throughout most of history – purity. A bride before her wedding day is supposed to be pure; she should have had no sexual relationships with anyone beforehand; in other words, she would be a virgin. So when she walked down that aisle, she would wear white to represent her purity to let her future husband and all witnesses know that she had saved herself for marriage.
I feel that the color WHITE has always represented purity because of what you see. WHITE is a clean color. It has no marks, no blemishes, no defilements. It is just plain white. Once you add a tinge of color, it shifts from white to something else like “egg shell” or “ivory,” but it is and will always be only white when there is no other addition. It is pure and on its own. It is the absence of any absorbed wavelengths of light. It is truly devoid of anything. It is pure. In a spiritual sense, the color WHITE also represents purity and how after Christ’s blood has washed over your heart, you are seen as pure before the sight of God. You are seen as white as snow. The blemishes, the spots, the marks that sin has left on you are no longer seen by God, for all He sees is the pure white canvass that Christ’s blood has left on your heart. He sees you as pure. Once again, we will use the color WHITE as an acronym to help us understand what it means to be pure.
W – To be pure is to be WASHED by the blood of the Lamb.
In the Old Testament, God mentioned how his people could become unclean. It could be through the touching of a dead body, by obtaining leprosy, or by having an issue of blood or coming into contact with someone else’s blood. In any of these cases, if a person sought to be purified, clean, and accepted back into the assembly of the people of Israel, he was asked to wash himself with water before he would be considered clean. He needed to be washed of his uncleanness. This is not too surprising if you think about it, because we all understand how nice it is to get all the dirt and grime off of us before entering someplace clean. I work in a microbiology lab, growing bacteria all the time, and when I get home, I make sure I take a shower so that I will be clean and not bring any contaminating bacteria into my bed when I sleep. We all understand how we want to keep things that are pure, pure, so we do whatever we can to wash ourselves of anything impure before approaching something clean. No matter what culture you are from, you understand this principle. I was recently in Japan for a vacation, and when we visited the Meiji Temple, we were asked to wash our hands and mouth before approaching the altar. They understood that in respect to their god (even though it is a false one), one should only approach him pure and clean. If we as human beings follow this principle with anything we deem clean and pure on this earth, why would we be surprised that God also has us follow this principle with Him?
In John 13, during the Last Supper, Jesus got up in the middle of the meal, took off his outer garment, tied a towel to His waist, and started to wash His disciples’ feet. Now, imagine you as a disciple seeing your Lord and Master come down to this servant position to wash your feet. How awkward would it be? So when Christ came to Peter, Peter did what we naturally would have done, he said, “You shall never wash my feet.” (vs. 8). But Christ answered back, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Although Christ washed the disciples’ feet to teach them a lesson of humility, in that one statement in vs. 8, we see a different yet interesting spiritual truth – if we are not spiritually clean, we can have no part with God – no relationship with Him. This is because as stated so many times in the color messages before, God is a holy, perfect God and sin cannot dwell in His presence.
When Christ died on the cross, He washed away our sins with His blood. When we accept Him as Lord and Savior of our lives, He comes into our hearts and washes the sin away, leaving us pure and spotless in His sight. From that point forward, we can have a relationship with Him; we can take part in Him. But every time we sin, we dirty ourselves a little bit, and once again we break that relationship. The relationship is not broken to the point where we will be eternally separated from Him, but it is broken enough that we cannot experience the joys of being near Him. It is only through confession and repentance that we can renew it once again. To be pure is to be washed of our sins, which first takes the initial step of salvation, and second, a constant maintenance of confessing and repenting of sin.
H – To be pure is to be HOLY.
Many Christians would not call themselves saints. The reason why is because they do not want the responsibility associated with being a saint. Saints are supposed to live holy lives, honoring God in everything that they do. But even if you don’t want to be called one, once you give your life to Christ, the Bible calls you a saint. Throughout Paul’s letters, he addresses the people in the church as saints, whether in Rome, Colossae, or Philippi; therefore as believers, we need to be holy. I Peter 1:14-16 says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
As Christians, we are called to be holy. So what does holy mean? Does it mean that you walk around in a white robe with a halo on your head? Does it mean that you stay in church all day, praying and studying the Bible? No. Holy in its most basic sense means “to be set apart for God as morally blameless and pure.” Simply, it means that first, we turn away from the sin and the things of this earth, which do not set us apart but conform us to this world. And second, it means that we live a life for God, seeking to please Him in all that we do. If our only goal in life is to please God, then we will automatically live holy and righteous lives. We automatically be like Him.
I – To be pure is to be INNOCENT in the sight of God.
When somebody on your team messes up a game-winning shot or an art project or a spell of protection in one of these massive online multi-player games, you may give him a hard time at first, but usually you are quick to forgive him. You cut him some slack and let him try again. But if for some reason, you make that same mistake, you never forgive yourself. It is said that the hardest person to forgive is oneself, and I find that to be very true in my own personal life. More often than not, I am harder on myself than the people around me. For example, when I was in high school, it wasn’t my parents who gave me a hard time when I got a B on a test, it was me. I couldn’t live with not being the perfect student. I would mope and complain and throw myself a pity party, because of a bad grade, when everyone else around me was telling me that it was only one grade and that it would be okay. And it only got worse in college, where I felt like I had even more to prove. I wouldn’t let myself slip up a bit. I would always beat myself up for not being the best, for failing to hit the mark I set for myself.
The same is usually true spiritually. As Christians, we will almost always be convicted when we have sinned. And the right response to that conviction is confession and repentance, which often involves feeling guilty, crying some tears, and being hard on one’s self. But more often than not, we tend to stay in that phase. Instead of rejoicing in the forgiveness that God has given us, we wallow in the guilt and treat ourselves as if we are still sinful in the sight of God. When Christ died on that cross for our sins, He purified us and made us clean in the sight of God. He blotted out our transgressions so that before His eyes, we are seen as innocent as if we had never sinned. We need no longer feel guilt and shame but gratefulness for what God has done for us. Oftentimes, we use our past as a reason not to serve God in the present. “I’ve messed up too much in my life.” “You don’t know the things I’ve done.” “God can’t use a sinner like me.” But the thing is – God can. He takes the sinner and makes him a saint, because Christ’s blood makes you innocent in God’s eyes. So stop wallowing in guilt, and rejoice in your newfound innocence.
T – To be pure is to be TESTED.
How many of you like to take tests? I assume that almost none of you answered “yes” to that question. But the truth is that testing is what shows you what you really know. You may think that you know and understand something but until you are really tried and tested it is all just talk. For example, if I told you I was the greatest basketball player in the world right now and could beat Stephen Curry would you believe me? Of course not. You would ask me to prove it in a test where I would have to play him. If I were to win then you might believe me, but if I lost the testing would have revealed who I really am. In my recent trip to China, we visited a pearl farm where they told us that a lot of people outside will try to sell us fake pearls which are all but plastic. So they showed us how we could learn to tell the difference. What we had to do was to put the pearls to the test by rubbing two of them against each other. If they were real they would release some pearl dust, but if not, nothing would happen. It was through a test we could tell whether the pearl was genuine or fake. The same is true spiritually. It is through testing that we show our true purity. Purity that is untested is only innocence, for once it faces the test it may still falter. But once tested, you know it is pure, for it has stood its ground even in the midst of trial. In I Peter 1:6-7, we are told why we undergo trials in this life, “In this you rejoice though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Testing is what shows the genuineness of our faith. It is what refines and removes the sin in our hearts. It is what truly shows us to be pure. We need testing. If you are looking for 24-karat gold, you don’t just dig it out of the ground. You take gold ore, and you take it to a refiner who burns out all the junk through the fire, leaving only the pure gold. It is only by testing that you become really pure, for it not only shows you your weak points which need to be improved but your strengths as well.
E – To be pure is to be an EXAMPLE.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When we are saved, Christ makes us a new creation in Him. We are not only washed from our sins but made pure in His sight, which means that now, we need to live as an example of what He has done for us. Our lives of purity are a reflection to the world of what a Christian really is. One of the worse commentaries about Christianity today is that people do not want to become Christians because Christians are hypocrites. And the sad thing is that what they say is true. There are many Christians today who proclaim to know God and to love Him but do not live for Him; instead, they continue to revel in their sin, failing to set an example of a believer. Paul told his son in the faith Timothy in I Timothy 4:12 to “let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Timothy was called to be an example to other believers of how a Christian should act, and when we live lives of purity, we as Christians are an example of what a true Christian really is. Imagine if all Christians were to live pure and upright lives that honor God – lives that are washed from sin, holy as God is holy, innocent before His eyes, and tested and proven to stand strong in the faith, what an example that would set! We as Christians need to be an example and living a pure life is one way to set it.
The color WHITE represents purity – the change that is brought about in our lives when Christ turns our black hearts white through His red blood. What in your life today is keeping you from being completely pure before God? Do you have sin that you do not want washed away? Are you allowing guilt to weigh you down? Are you failing a test? Are you being an example? Live an upright and pure life before God, wholly devoted to Him, and you will find yourself pure before His eyes and soon enough an example of a believer. Shouldn’t we live lives of purity for our God who shed His blood for us?
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The next color that we will talk about for the “Color Messages” is RED. So what do you think of when you see the color RED? Does it make you think of fire and how it burns brightly with its red flames? Does it make you think of the Power Rangers, because the Red Ranger is almost always the leader? Does it make you think to stop, because the red on a traffic light means STOP? Does it make you think of Valentine’s Day, romance, and love because of red roses and hearts and cards? The color RED is a vibrant, powerful color that commands attention. When an eye catches it, it almost automatically draws the watcher to it. The color RED is also considered to represent happiness, which is why in a lot of Asian cultures, red is worn at birthday parties and even weddings. Why do you think people get red envelopes filled with money during Chinese New Year?
In the spiritual sense though, I was taught that RED represents the blood of Christ, which is a fair connection, being that blood is red. But I would like to draw an even deeper connection, in that, I think the color RED also represents the love of God, for God’s love was best exhibited on the cross, where He shed His blood for us. It is just like John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” In the last color message, we talked about the color BLACK and how it represents the sin that has destroyed our lives and condemned us to death. Because of sin, our only future would be to spend an eternity in hell, where we would pay for the penalty of sin. But Christ chose to take on that death and punishment for us, when He died on the cross. It was there that He laid down his life for us. It was there that He showed us the extent of His everlasting, unbounded love, for when we were yet sinners and enemies of His, He died for us (Romans 5:8). What man would die for another? A parent may die for his child. A brother may die for his sister. A husband may die for his wife. But to die for one’s enemy? That is crazy talk. Yet, Christ loved us so much that He died for us. That is true love. That is love unconditional. That is God’s love. That is RED love represented by Christ’s blood.
To help remind us of what the blood of Christ did that day on the cross, once again, we can use an acronym for the color RED. The blood of Christ Redeems, Erases, and Defeats.
R – The blood of Christ Redeems.
Have you ever owed somebody money? Until the day you paid it back, you were technically a slave to that person. Whatever that person asked, he could make you do, because you still owed him. But the moment that debt was paid, you were a free man; no longer under the control of your loaner’s every whim, but free to refuse his every wish. Now, imagine if you owed me a million dollars. How would you go about paying that? It would take years if not decades for you to amass the funds necessary to get out of that debt? Right? It would take even longer, if I was charging you a 10% interest and allowed you to continue borrowing money from me, which in this hypothetical situation you did. You would never be able to dig yourself out of that hole. You would always be my slave. But imagine if somebody came by and paid that debt for you at no cost to you. There would be no transfer of the loan; there would be no shift in payments; there would be nothing but a clean slate. That is what is called redemption. To redeem something is to pay the debt owed for it, more specifically to pay the ransom for a capture, to deliver a person from captivity.
Every time we sin, we add expense after expense to our spiritual checkbooks. We continue to withdraw and withdraw adding red to our ledgers, thinking that maybe our good works could somehow pay that debt, could somehow equalize it out, so that our good would outweigh our bad. But according to the Bible, our works are viewed as but filthy rags in the sight of God’s righteousness. We could never reach a balancing point and would always be in debt. The only payment is through the shedding of blood, which in the Old Testament was done through the sin offering of a lamb. And we could never offer that many lambs. So our only redemption would have to come from outside from someone who had no debt and no sin and would be willing to pay that penalty to redeem us. And Christ did exactly that on the cross when He died for our sins. Christ, the Perfect Lamb of God, when He died on the cross, shed His blood for us, redeeming us through His blood (Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19). By His blood, we are redeemed, meaning that we are free from the payment of sin.
E – The blood of Christ Erases.
Have you ever gotten a stain on a white T-shirt? They are always the hardest to get out. You can try all you want to rub it out, but it just doesn’t seem to get off. In the past, it would probably be easier to buy a new shirt than to try to figure out a way to get the stain off (although some people say that you can rub baking soda or vinegar on it before washing). Nowadays, though we have things like Magic Erasers, Tide strain removers, and Spray-and-Wash bottles to get these little blemishes off. And they work wonders. You can spill grape juice all over a shirt, and they will manage to remove the stain as if it was never there. It basically erases the stain.
Sin like dirt leaves a stain in our lives. It leaves us tarnished and blemished and unclean before the eyes of God. Oftentimes, it leaves with it guilt, despair, and a feeling of unworthiness that follows us through life. This stain cannot be removed by any stain remover and would constantly linger if not for the precious blood of Christ. A famous hymn goes, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Christ’s blood does exactly that it washes away our sins. It blots out the transgression before the sight of God, so that when God sees us, He no longer sees a blemished lamb, but a pure lamb fully covered by the blood of Christ. He erases it all, so that He remembers our sins no more. It is like any good piece of art. The blemishes, the mistakes, that were all made by pencil have been finally erased, leaving only the masterpiece. The blood of Christ has erased our sins before the sight of God, which means that we no longer need to feel guilt when we confess our sins but gratefulness.
D – The blood of Christ Defeats.
When Jesus Christ was hanging on that cross dying for our sins, Satan thought that he had the victory. He felt sure that he was witnessing the death of God and the eternal enslavement of the human race to hell and him. He must have thought that he had finally won. But unbeknownst to him, Christ was working victory on that cross; for at that moment, Christ set us free from the power of sin, giving us the opportunity to have a relationship with Him, free from sin and its penalty. We would no longer be headed to spiritual death in the Lake of Fire but a home in Heaven with God. The shock on Satan’s face must have doubled when he heard what happened next – that Christ rose from the dead that Easter Sunday, defeating death. No longer did sin and death have any control or victory, for Christ had defeated them all. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 states, “‘O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When Christ died for us, shedding His blood on that cross, He defeated all the spiritual powers that could ever stand against us, because at that moment, we were given the opportunity that we never had before – a life free from sin. God defeated death, Satan, and sin through His blood.
The color RED is a powerful color that invigorates and encourages passion and action. Its spiritual meaning implies the same, for it represents Christ’s blood and love for us, which should move us to live for Him in gratefulness. But the first action that has to be taken is to accept His gift of salvation. There is nothing worse than when a person takes a gift of love and throws it back into one’s face ungratefully. But that is what you are doing when you refuse to give your life to Him. You are spitting in His face, throwing away the gift of His blood. If you have yet to know Him as your personal Lord and Savior, I hope this message has helped you to understand His love for us and will move you to give your life to Him today. For those who already have known Him, I pray that these words helped you to understand the power in His blood and the love He showed spilling it for you and move you to honor Him with your life. The next two colors represent two ways which we can show our gratefulness to God for His loving sacrifice for us.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Adam and Eve - The Fall, all sin, Bible study, BLACK and spiritual association, devotional, Genesis 3:6, Isaiah 59:2, not perfect, Psalm 5:4, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:20, Romans 6:23, Sin is a captor, sin is a desire to be lord of one's own life, sin is a killer, Sin is a lack of faith, Sin is a state of being, sin is the absence of God, slaves to sin, The Color Messages, wages of sin is death, What is sin?
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What do you think of when you see the color BLACK?
When I think of the color BLACK, I associate it with sadness, depression, nothingness, and occasionally death. The reason I associate the color BLACK with nothingness is two-fold. First, the color is created by the absence of light that returns to our eyes, because the object that is colored black is absorbing all visible light in the spectrum. It actually is a “nothingness” of light. The second reason is because the color BLACK makes me think of space, which although is filled with stars and planets and other galaxies seems to be mostly composed of “nothing.” BLACK also makes me think of sadness and depression and death, and the reason is simple – funerals. We can all remember attending a funeral in which almost every attendant is wearing black from head to toe. If a person were to wear bright red, he or she would be committing a fashion faux paus and in a way disrespect the mourning family.
From my childhood, I learned that black was spiritually associated with SIN. The song goes, “My heart was BLACK with sin…” So the first topic, we will talk about in this series of “Color Messages” is sin. The main question we need to ask is “What is sin?” Is it simply a set of actions that are wrong according to the Bible? Or is it something deeper than that? If you lie, did you sin? If you steal, did you sin? If you broke any of the Ten Commandments, did you sin? The simple answer is “YES.” All these things when done with a heart that is in disobedience to God is considered sin, but sin is a lot deeper than that. It has more facets and is a lot more complex than just doing wrong. By using the color BLACK as an acronym, we can better understand and remember what sin is all about.
B – Sin is a state of BEING; it is not just an action.
When many of us think of sin, we think of doing something wrong. It is the act of lying, stealing, cheating, killing, or any one of these awful things. Because of this, we only consider ourselves sinners when we have disobeyed a command from the Bible. This is what we call a sin of commission, because we sinned by doing something wrong. But have you ever thought that maybe by not doing something right, you are sinning as well. For example, if you knew that God wanted you to give a helping hand to a friend, but you didn’t, you have sinned as well. This is what we call a sin of omission, because you sinned by not doing something right. But sin is a lot more than just actions; it is actually a state of being. Sin in its most basic sense does not mean “wrongdoing” what it actually means is “missing the mark.” It is the same word an archer would use if he missed the bulls-eye when shooting from a distance. In the Bible, God has set one mark for all humankind and that is perfection. It is to be completely perfect in His sight. This was our state of being before the Fall in the Garden of Eden. But the moment, Adam disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we fell from perfection, from the mark that God has set for us, and have been in this sinful state ever since. Sin is simply being in this state of “imperfection” in God’s sight. Because none of us are perfect, we all are considered sinful, whether the person is Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, or Mahatma Ghandi. Romans 3:23 states it succinctly, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners.
L – Sin is a LACK of faith and a desire to be the LORD of one’s own life.
If we take any sinful action and trace back the motive for that sin, we will often find that its origin is in two things – a lack of faith in God and a desire to be the lord of one’s own life. Take the first sin as an example. Genesis 3:6 states, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” They lacked the faith to trust that God’s plan was the best for them and rather desired to be gods themselves, so they took of the fruit when God expressly commanded that they should not do so. If we take one of the sins that we committed today and thought about the true reason why it happened, we will probably come to the conclusion that it was one of these two things – we either lacked the faith to trust that God would be faithful and true to His promises or we had the desire to overstep God’s rules and be the lord of our own lives. The reason why so many people today do not come to God is because they want control of their own lives. They don’t want to be told what to do or how to live, because they think that they know what is best for their own lives. But they would be completely wrong. Wouldn’t the Creator and Inventor of an object know how best to use it? Of course. Then why would we think that God would know less than us? The Creator of the universe, the Omniscient God of Past, Present, and Future, the Lord of all. When we have a lack of faith in God or a desire to rule our own lives, we are sinning.
A – Sin is the ABSENCE of God.
Just as the color BLACK is the absence of light, sin is the ABSENCE of God. Because our God is a holy God, He cannot coincide with sin. Psalm 5:4 states, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.” They are polar opposites. To try to mix God with sin is like trying to mix oil and vinegar. They will always separate out to opposite sides. God is without sin, and He will not allow sin to continue in His presence, for it is disgusting in His eyes. Sin will drive a wedge between you and God. If I were to show you a putrefying sore right this instant, you would likely turn away your eyes in disgust. The smell would probably drive you away. The same goes with sin and God. He will not allow it in His presence. Isaiah 59:2 says it best, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Because sin cannot dwell in the presence of God, God created a specific place for it and those who continue to live in it to spend all of eternity – hell. When most of us think of hell, we think of fire and brimstone and sorrow; and hell will definitely have those things, but the main thing that makes hell hell is the absence/rejection of God. God’s wrath will be there, but His love and mercy and grace will not be. Sin and the result of sin will lead to the absence of God and His love and leave only the presence of His wrath and judgment. It is definitely true that God is omnipresent, and in a way, it can be said that He is in places where sin occurs or is punished because of that; but His love and the opportunity to have a relationship with Him is not – that is absent.
C – Sin is a CAPTOR.
As stated before, a lot of people refuse to give their lives to God, because they don’t want to lose their “freedom.” They feel that if they choose to become Christians, then they will be forced to live a life enslaved to rules and regulations given by the Bible, but what they do not know is that they are captives to sin. Sin is a cruel master that drives one into slavery without any knowledge of the individual. At first, it seems like it provides a choice, because you can choose to do it or not; but eventually, as one continues to sin, it becomes the natural reaction which the person no longer questions. It is like a drug. The person may not be an addict at the start, but eventually becomes dependent on it. One really strong example of this is pornography. At first, a person feels guilt when he looks at these images; but as time goes by, he becomes more and more addicted to the images. He feels a need to see them, a need to fulfill his lust, a need to indulge in this gross and pathetic desire. He may not start a captive but becomes one. Sin captures us, the same way cooks boil frogs. They start with lukewarm, comfortable water, allowing the frog to feel as if it can escape at any time. Slowly, they raise the temperature, allowing the frog to get comfortable at each degree. Finally, the temperature hits boiling, and the frog dies, slowly cooked unaware that it was dying to begin with. Sin captures us the same way, it gives us the sense of freedom and progressively gets hotter and hotter, worse and worse, until eventually, we don’t realize that we are now addicted to it. Sin is a captor. There is no freedom in sin. Romans 6:20 calls us “slaves to sin.”
K – Sin is a KILLER.
Every action has a reaction, and every sin has a consequence. If you smoke, you damage your lungs, which can lead to emphysema and lung cancer. If you steal and are eventually caught, you will have to pay the stolen item back. If you sin, you die. Romans 6:23 describes the consequences of sin very simply, “For the wages of sin is death…” The payment, the earnings of sin is death. Not only did sin lead to physical death because we were kept from the Tree of Life when Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden, but it leads to spiritual death, because sin causes a separation between God and us. Sin kills the life of you, me, and the people that surround us. Sexual sin has killed marriages and families. Emotional sins of anger and rage have killed joy and happiness in a person’s life. Covetous sins have killed contentment. All sin has killed our relationship with God. Sin is a killer, and it has left us in this state of spiritual death. There is a price to pay with sin and that is death. In the Old Testament, to pay for sin, one had to offer a sacrifice of a lamb, bull, goat, or doves (if one was poor). This sacrifice required a spilling of blood, a death of something, to cover that sin. Sin kills. Fortunately, for us, Christ died in our place so that we can be free from these wages, for Christ has paid it for us. Sin put Christ on that cross, making it a killer, but praise God that He did not stay dead and rose again giving us victory over death and sin.
The color BLACK reminds me of sin, for sin brings sorrow, separation, depression, and agony into one’s life. The wages of sin is death, and one day we will all have to pay that penalty, for God will require it. If the color messages ended here, we would be left with a sad story. The Bible would be a book of condemnation and not redemption. All we would know is that we are stuck in this state of being sinners, for we did not meet up to God’s standard of perfection. We would know that we were filled with pride and could never enjoy the presence of God. We would know that we were slaves to this cruel master of sin that has killed our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. We would be left with nothing. No escape, no freedom, no life. But the story doesn’t end here; Jesus Christ came to this earth for the express purpose of delivering us from sin. He came to give us new life and life abundantly. He came to save us. Yes, sin destroyed everything good in us, but Christ came to restore us, if we would but put our faith in Him. Today, if you choose to admit you are a sinner, believe that Christ died for your sins and is the Son of God, and commit your life to Him, you can be saved from this horrible black death that sin brings. The next color will describe how that works, but you don’t need to understand it all to be saved; all it takes is for you to put your trust in Him.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: color and appetite, color associations, color messages, rods and cones, using color to share the Gospel
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In the human eye, there are two types of photoreceptor cells – rods and cones. The rods are used to distinguish things in low levels of light. They are the cells that contribute to your night vision so that when you get up to go to the bathroom at night, you don’t bump into anything. The cones, on the other hand, are important for your ability to see color. These are what allow you to see things in various shades of red, blue, purple, green, yellow, and all the other colors. Now, imagine if you had only one of these types of cells in your eye – only rods. How would your life change? Would you feel that there is less emotion in your life? Less joy and excitement? Less sadness and depression? Just more dullness? Or do you think your life would be exactly the same in black-and-white?
I tend to believe the former, because I just love color and how it can change the tone of a situation. For example, if I were to give you a burger that I dyed blue, would you eat it without hesitation? Very likely you would say, “No.” That is because color affects appetite. The color blue tends to dissuade people from eating, while the color red encourages it. So if you were on a diet, color everything blue, and you will lose weight more quickly. Another example of the role of color is in movies and comic books. The way a colorist adds color to a page of art can drastically change the mood of the piece. That is why I love American comic books over Japanese manga; the former usually has color. By adding darker blues and purples to a scene, the mood is set for a sadder tone. By adding reds and oranges, the mood is changed towards excitement. By adding yellows and brighter blues, the reader can feel happiness, joy, and calmness. All of this is done by color. Just think about what you watch on TV for example. If you watched a movie or show in black-and-white and then in color, you would definitely notice the difference. The change would be as drastic as that seen when movies transitioned from silent films to talking pictures. Don’t get me wrong black-and-white can be used artistically to do incredible things, but the role of color cannot be denied.
Being that color plays such an important role in our lives, I want to ask you what the first thing you think of is when I show you a certain color.
So what did you associate each color with?
- When I see the color BLUE, I think of the ocean and the sky obviously. I also have this feeling of calmness and relaxation.
- When I see the color YELLOW, I think of sunshine, which makes me think of happy days where people are smiling and frolicking in the grass.
- When I see the color RED, I think of blood and how life is in the blood. And if I were to associate it with an emotion/mood it would definitely be love.
- When I see the color GREEN, I think of grass and trees and nature. It makes me think of the wilderness and freshness and growth.
- When I see the color PURPLE, I think or royalty because of how I was taught it was the color of kings.
- When I see the color ORANGE, I think fire or fireballs and burning.
- And when I see the color BLACK, I think of death, nothingness, and sin. I associate it at times with evil. Although it can also make me think of how it is a slimming color.
My associations likely do not match your associations, because based on our own personal experiences, we have learned to associate each color with a certain mood, a certain event in our lives, and sometimes even a certain person. What I hope to do in these next few lessons is to share with you how I was taught to associate five colors with a spiritual lesson/idea. I actually learned it in song form, but I won’t sing it to you here. Instead, I will just talk about each one. The colors we will talk about are BLACK, RED, WHITE, GREEN, and GOLD.