When serving in the line of duty, no soldier can afford to lower his guard. Likewise for the Christian engaged in spiritual warfare.

One day a preacher bought a lawnmower from a member. After he brought it home, he filled it with gasoline, changed the oil, and fired up the old engine. Well, almost. The engine grunted when he pulled the manual pull crank, but then it went silent. He tried to pull the crank again, but to no avail. This continued for several minutes until sweat poured from the preacher’s face and soaked his clothes. As he stood huffing and puffing in the heat, the preacher decided to take the lawnmower back to the member’s house to see if he knew anything about the problem.

After explaining his dilemma, the preacher was surprised when the member told him, “Oh, you just have to cuss at it a little bit. Then she’ll fire right up.”

“But I haven’t cussed in over 30 years!”

“Pastor, keep pulling on the cord, and you’ll remember how it’s done.”

Sometimes it takes little more than a faulty pull crank to remind us that our cranky old nature is alive and well. It doesn’t need any practice — the slightest provocation proves it is as rotten as it has always been. Age does not diminish its power or susceptibility to external pressures. The only way a Christian can overcome this beast is by starving it and feeding his new nature instead.

You might think that because you no longer struggle with certain sins that you have completely overcome them. Nothing could be further from the truth. While you may not commit these sins as often as you used to, the Bible makes it clear that the sin nature is but one wrong decision away from ruining your life. Purpose in your heart today that you will starve the crank (your old nature) so your new nature can have victory.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.