“I heard that there’s another mark for God’s people,” asked Kristen. “Is that true?”
In our weekly Bible study group at the women’s prison, we were just getting into the study of the beast and his mark in Revelation 14.
“Yes,” I responded. And so we talked a little bit about what it means to receive the seal of God.
Then Crystal piped up: “I understand that we can’t receive the seal of God if we are doing all the right things but don’t have love as our motive. But does it work the opposite way, too? What if we really love God in our hearts, but we still do wrong things?”
I could see where she was going with this question. At its root was something we all struggle with. We look at ourselves, at our shortcomings, failures, and mistakes, and wonder, How will I ever be saved? So instead of addressing her question directly, I went straight to the root.
I shared with her, in a nutshell, the essence of righteousness by faith, and Christ’s work of sanctification in us. It’s like making a new trail through the forest. The first time you try to make a new path, it’s very difficult and hard work. The second and third and fourth times, it’s still hard! The trail is hardly recognizable and it’s easy to lose your way and wander off the trail. But the more times you travel down that trail, the easier it gets. It’s the same way when we give our lives to Christ and ask Him to help us form new habits. We have to create new pathways in our brain, and just like making a new trail in the forest, it’s not easy! But every time we say “Yes” to the Holy Spirit and resist a particular temptation, it will become easier and easier to say “Yes” the next time.
I praise God for how He is working in the ladies’ hearts there at the prison, and I look forward to seeing them grow and mature in their spiritual journey. They will become powerful witnesses for Him as they surrender their hearts and lives to Him.