Day 16

How Can Death Bring Life?

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 7:1-13, Proverbs 1:19, John 14:6-7

BY Annie Downs

Scripture Reading: Romans 7:1-13, Proverbs 1:19, John 14:6-7

My buddy Andrea wrote yesterday’s post, and I loved it. But no offense to her, sometimes real, live fruit can show up without much planning. Here’s what I mean.

I follow one of my favorite Instagram accounts specifically for the Insta-stories. One account I adore is of an incredibly fun mom living in Florida. Last week, she did three or four videos of the same tree: an avocado tree. Hanging from the branches were dozens of avocados.

“Look at these beauties!” she yelled to the camera, “And my husband takes all the credit for this tree!”

Apparently, a few years before, he’d planted the pit of an avocado there in the backyard, just behind the pool, and voila! AVOCADOS! He didn’t plan it or even care for it. Just planted the pit once the original avocado was eaten and then didn’t think about it again.

Just a dead pit. Buried in the ground.

What viewers like me saw was the tree—the product, the fruit grown from the death. But the part we didn’t see were all those days in the middle. The dead days. The days where nothing grew and nothing changed on the outside, but everything was changing on the inside.

I need to see the avocados. And I need to see the dead days too. Because I feel them. Don’t you? There are stories in my life that just plain feel dead. It feels like I did all the work I knew to do, and yet nothing seems to be growing or changing.

But death brings life. So it is with us because of Jesus.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another… (Romans 7:4).

To be a Christian means that we belong to Jesus. And He belongs to us. Our sin was there on the cross. Our flesh was crucified with Him. And when He went to the grave to conquer death, He took our sin—our past, present, and still-to-come-future sin—with Him and buried it all there.

After those three dead days had passed, Jesus came back, fully alive, and brought us, His made-new creation, with Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I’m not a huge avocado fan, but I can see an object lesson when it’s before me. So I went to the grocery store, found two avocadoes that felt ripe-ish, and bought them. I didn’t have a plan—I just knew I needed them.

I got home, sliced one open, and no kidding, the minute I saw the pit I started crying. Because I saw it, right there in the middle, the death that had grown life and sustenance. I pulled it out with a knife, washed it off in the sink, and just held it. And prayed.

I asked God about all the avocado pits I see in my life, things that look dead. And I asked if they were ever going to grow into something that mattered. Did they matter? Did He even see them?

…You belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God (v.4, continued).

While the Holy Spirit whispered truth to me, I already knew it; I saw it there in the avocado. Of course, He sees it all. He alone brings life from death, even when it feels like no new fruit will ever will grow in those dry, barren places.

I breathed a prayer of thanks. And then I made guacamole.


Post Comments (114)

114 thoughts on "How Can Death Bring Life?"

  1. Karen says:

    I recall many times while hearing a message, sermon, devotional, etc and knowing without a doubt that the Lord had brought me to this place for such a time as this. Today was such a time. The message was clear and spoke to me deeply. Thank you for being His instrument!

  2. Simply_Jaquie says:

    You know it’s a great devotional when it ended with my husband and I both looking at each other and saying “Mmmmm… Guacamole…”

  3. Liz says:

    Very meaningful and easy to understand I’ll forever have a whole new love of avocados and barren seasons bring purposeful of so many things. In my profession, we see so much of just that dead season but this reminds me to keep the hope and faith alive knowing things happen, wonderful things that remain to be seen..Truth!

  4. Becka Roth says:

    This is probably my favorite This is probably my favorite entry that I have read on this site! So real and honest, so relatable!! Thank you for this truth!

  5. AC says:

    The last two sentences are so real. Lol. I loved this post!

  6. Sara says:

    Romans 7:13 is confusing to me. Through rules and the law our sin becomes more sinful? Isn’t that a case for doing away with rules?

    1. Allie says:

      Sara, Paul certainly has a dizzying way of presenting his arguments sometimes doesn’t he? :) He says multiple times, though, that what he is saying is NOT a license to do whatever we want or “do away with the rules” as you put it. (6:1, 6:15, etc.) This is what I think vs 13 is trying to say: sin is sin no matter what. But it is only recognized as sin when it is pointed out. The law is there to point out our sin so we can then turn to God as a savior. As the famous quote goes: “Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” ~Thomas Watson I hope this makes sense! If anyone has more incite, please correct me!

      1. Steph J says:

        I think you did a beautiful job explaining.

  7. Kamelia says:

    I often look at winter turning to spring I see all the dead branches and that’s how we see our lives sometimes dead nothing happening but inside God is busily preparing a beautiful spring blossom. Gods pre-ordained plan for us. So we must never look to the outward events that sometimes bring us down or our feelings that can deceive us but Gods promise for what is to come. We must continue to seed the word despite our own perceived limitations God word never goes out in vain. God will water and grow all we must do is obey and sow. Even if the results are not seen in this life, they may appear in eternity.

  8. Cindy says:

    Avocado pits for me from now on are going to be reminders to pray WITH HOPE and FAITH for the stories that look dead to me.

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