Lesson 3: Death to Sin Is the Gate to a Life of Holiness
(Parables of the Cross, pages 15–31)
DAY 1 (Monday):
Read the Section Summary (below). Then read the assigned pages (above). Jot down some initial impressions. Ask God to give you insight into the idea of dying to self and what that might mean in your life. Note those as well.
Section Summary: To grow in one’s life with Christ, sin must be shut off. This process depends on the decisions of the believer and the ongoing work of God through His Spirit, reaching toward maturity through the process of sanctification. God can triumph even in the most difficult seasons of life. Becoming more like Christ through His death and resurrection is not solely for one’s personal benefit. A believer is called to spread the Good News among others. A self-centered focus results in barrenness. But a surrendered life brings “God-blessed treasure,” as in the life Christ (see p. 31).
DAY 2 (Tuesday):
Read the Scripture passages (below). Make notes of any insights. If you find this topic hard, note your questions as well. Read and respond to the questions given. You will see that the questions correspond to the scripture.
Scripture reading: Colossians 3:1-12; John 16:7-15; Romans 8:5-11, 14-17
In Colossians 3:1-10, what does Paul tell us to “seek” or “set”? And “put to death” (v. 5)? In verses 9-10, what are we to “put off” and “put on”? In verse 12a, how does remembering who we are help us in the task of dying to sin? Prayerfully envision what a life of holiness would look like for you. What specific attitudes or actions (possibly in regard to specific people) would you discard or put on?
In John 16:7-15, what does Jesus say about the work of the Holy Spirit? What will the Holy Spirit do for us to lead us to holiness?
According to Romans 8:5-17, what glorious truths will empower us to continue our growth toward Christlikeness?
DAY 3 (Wednesday):
Re-read the Parables of the Cross pages that are noted. Then read and respond to the questions (below).
Parables of the Cross: Read pages 15-31 and consider the following:
- What do you think LT means by “ego” on page 15?
- LT outlines two ways, or two parts, to dying to sin. What are they (p. 16)? What light does Romans 5:5 shed on this process?
- Is dying to sin a gradual process? Consider LT’s comments on pages 16 and 25. Do you agree? How is her example of the flowering rush helpful (pp. 20-25)?
- Are sins of the old life the same for every believer? How do we respond when someone has given up something that we have not?
- How does LT define holiness or sanctification? What is the starting point (p. 20)? Consider LT’s comments on page 20 along with the passage from Romans 8. Who is responsible for our sanctification?
- In what way is our Christian identity shaped by the process of our sanctification? How does focusing on the glory of the Father and all He has accomplished for us help us establish that identity? “What more do we need for our souls than to have this God for our God” (p. 25)?
- LT uses the example of the gorse bush to encourage the believer when no change is visible (p. 26) She quotes Hebrews 12:11 and then says, “Take the very hardest thing in your life . . . and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot” (p. 29) Consider the illustration on page 27. How does it speak to you: set in pain comes “the jewel of His joy”? Journal or discuss a situation in which you can expect God to triumph gloriously.
- Perhaps you have turned from sin but do not experience the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. Return to Romans 8:14-17. What encouragement does Paul provide?
- What is the danger of focusing on growth only for ourselves (p. 29)? Where have you seen God leading you out to service of others? Where do you see God leading you now? How does the example of the opal expand the idea (p. 30)? What does LT mean by “an utter yielding of our best” (p. 31)?
DAY 4 (Thursday):
Review your responses of the previous readings. You may want to re-read the scripture passages. Then read the quotes (below) for further consideration.
For further consideration:
Saint Augustine of Hippo, describing his dramatic conversion from a life of reckless sin and disordered loves:
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose . . . You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drive them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.
Whatever controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by the people he or she wants to please. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives. – Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World
This prayer by Evelyn Bence relates to LTS’s text on page 20:
Brother Lawrence gave his life to You on a bleak winter day. With his eyes he saw an ordinary tree, wind stripped of leaves, stark, gaunt, heavy with the look of death. But in his mind he saw the same tree in summer, plush, rich with green, which clung to its branches, which hid a village of birds. If such transformation was a sample of Your work, he wanted the same for himself. You heard his prayer, Lord. With his permission, You watered him, warmed him, bathed him in Your presence until he budded into life. Now, three centuries later, my request must sound familiar to you: I see a tree in winter and I know Your power hasn’t diminished. – The Promise
Prayer by Saint Catherine of Siena:
Clothe me, clothe me with yourself.
DAY 5 (Friday):
Use the hymn given (below) and others you can think of for a time of worship and reflection. Ask God to help you understand the ideas given and apply them to your life. Read again any of the scriptures or other favorite readings from this lesson.
I Surrender All
J.W. Van Deventer
All to Jesus I surrender,
all to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
in His presence daily live.
All to Jesus I surrender,
humbly at His feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken,
take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
fill me with Thy love and power,
let Thy blessing fall on me.
DAYS 6 and 7 (Saturday/Sunday):
Enjoy God. Worship Him as your Father. Thank Him for his many gifts. Perhaps get out in nature to see what God has created. You may also want to view more of Lilias’ artwork at liliastrotter.com (or on the Lilias Trotter Legacy Facebook page). Ask Him what He especially wants you to learn through this Lenten study.
For the full printable Parables of the Cross Study Guide, click here: Parables-of-Cross-Study-Guide.pdf (liliastrotter.com)
For the printable weekly study tips, click here: Parables-of-the-Cross-Study-Guide-Lenten-Suggestions.pdf (liliastrotter.com)