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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Slash and Burn!

What do I do when I write?

Slash and burn.

I’m not talking about cutting and burning a forest for planting later. I am talking about permanent clearing. It’s the drastic cutting of unneeded words. It’s doing away with the extraneous so that what’s left has meaning.

I usually end up with the feeling I didn’t slash enough, that I left too much.

Sometimes, though, I feel that freedom of having reduced the sentence to its bones, of having the right balance.

Did you know that the slash and burn approach can also be applied to our spirit?

What is biblical slash and burn? What are we supposed to totally destroy? Then, what are we to plant in its place?

Read these Scriptures about what we’re supposed to do away with—and what we’re to put in its place:

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:16, 19-23).

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:22-32).

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephesians 5:1-5).

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (Colossians 3:8-10).

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . . . (Hebrews 12:1-2a)

Notice the perfect balance? Every time we’re told to eradicate a sin in our lives, God tells us what to put in its place.

It’s not only cutting and burning, but after the smoke has cleared, it’s planting something new—something beautiful.

In only the passages we looked at above, look at the positives:
  • Love (mentioned twice)
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Longsuffering
  • Gentleness
  • Goodness
  • Faith
  • Meekness
  • Temperance
  • Honest work
  • Good and edifying speech
  • Kindness
  • Tenderheartedness
  • Forgiveness
  • The new man
  • Patience
  • Purpose in life
  • Looking to Jesus 

Slash and burn, yes.

But then, in the same place, we plant.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . .


  1. I was reading Jerry Bridges' Discipline of Grace (I think) - the only book of his I have read so far - and he pointed out that we don't spend nearly as much time and thought to "follow after" or "put on" the good traits as we do putting off the bad ones, but they work together. Following the good helps in putting off the bad.

    Sometimes I cut my words back, but not as often as I should. I used to participate in a blog meme called Microfiction Monday, where the host posted a picture, and people were supposed to concoct a story based on it in less than 140 characters (like Twitter). It was a fun exercise to see how much we could put into few words, and it was fun to see what others came up with. But she stopped it after a while and isn't even blogging any more.

    1. The substitution is so important. Yes, we need to get rid of sin, but we also must substitute the good, otherwise we leave a vacuum--and fall back into sinful behaviors.

      That was interesting about the short descriptions. I'm not sure I'd be so good at that! I had a friend who did haiku poetry. He was incredible at capturing a lot in very few words. I have to try very, very hard to boil down thoughts to the best and fewest words.

      Thank you for your thoughtful sharing!

  2. Muy bueno, i que es bueno cambiar las malas costumbres por las buenas costumbre, como el Señor nos indica en su Palabra.



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