One of my wife Becca’s many hidden talents is the art of gardening. She can make the plainest, dirt-filled space beautiful as she spends time in the garden. So beautiful in fact, that where one might look and see something in her garden that is already gorgeous, she can take it up another notch still and somehow make it even better. It is an impressive skill.
It is a small example of what the Holy Spirit can do with us … IF we choose to move and follow His lead upon the belief that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be.
As we witnessed after Sunday’s message from Pastor Josh, baptism is a vital piece of the “Now What?” timeline of our faith. Paul alludes to this when he says about our new reality as followers of Jesus Christ in Galatians 2:20 (ESV):
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Our journeys do not stop with belief in Jesus. It is a bit like a garden. Where weeds had taken over and nothing beautiful was alive, the Gardener came and began a transformation. He got rid of everything old and dead immediately and began pulling weeds. As time goes on, He begins to enrich the soil and plant beautiful flowers. It all takes time and though a garden cannot choose to participate in its growth or not, we certainly have that choice in our walk with our Lord. You see, God does not intend for us to stop upon the initial planting. He guides us along, and directs our paths, but He also expects us to stay in step with Him so we can come along for the adventure. Thus, to stay still and not move toward where He wants to take you in your journey of becoming more like Jesus simply is not acceptable.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:9–14, ESV).”
Mediocrity need not apply. For while those who have decided to commit their lives to following Jesus were once lost, they are now inexplicably found! And it could not be a more magnificent existence to know this truth in the deepest parts of our soul.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt (Hebrews 6:1-6, ESV).”
May we all work together here at Harvest Christian Church to become the passionate apprentices of Jesus we were meant to be. For we must never forget that Jesus himself said in John 13:35 (ESV), “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” So, let us all take that next step in the flourishing of God’s garden, and do what the first church in Acts did by devoting our time and efforts to the “apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, [and] to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42, ESV).”
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF…
- Are you standing still in your faith journey? Or are you actively growing?
- What is the next step you need to take in a deepening relationship with Jesus?
- Who or what is discipling you, and guiding you in your journey of faith?
- What kind of additional guidance do you need to grow as you mature in your faith?