Blooming for Jesus
I was sitting outside the other day admiring some of Janice’s mums. They are so colourful. They really help make our home more beautiful. I had to take a double look though because the one mum was two different colours and flower patterns in the same pot. I did not know mums could be like that – half one thing half something else. It was really neat. It got me thinking about us as Christians. We are kind of like that mum: half and half – our old and fallen nature and our new regenerate nature we get the point of salvation.
Our old nature that we get at birth is sometimes described as the flesh (John 6:63); Carnal Nature (1 Corinthians 3:1); Natural Man (1 Corinthians 2:14); the Old Man (Ephesians 4:22). Our new regenerate nature comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who comes to reside within us at the moment of Salvation (1 Corinthians 3:16). Paul challenges us to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24). Spiritual growth requires that we put on the “righteousness,” “holiness” and “truth” of Christ. Like our clothes, these are the things that equip us for daily life and protect us. They cover us.
The problem is that the two natures inside us, battle each other for control. It is as the old poem goes…"Two natures beat within my breast; the one is fowl the other blest: The one I love the one I hate; the one I feed will dominate!” Paul talks about this in his letter to the Church in Rome. Romans 13:14 states, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 7:21-25 echoes this struggle, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
This is why reading, studying and applying scripture is so necessary. Without content, without doctrine, solid teaching our Faith cannot be built up. Without feeding, ingesting the word of God, we become susceptible to control by our old nature and the things that would lead us astray from Christ. Without truth we become open to lies, deception, misguided priorities and actions that would not reflect the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is why again it is so important to attend (on YouTube, Facebook, television or in person) pray for and support a church where the preaching and teaching is at the central core of the philosophy and practice of the congregation and its leadership. Churches should be places where we are built up in “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude v. 3).
As someone has wisely said, “feeding on God’s word will keep us from swallowing lies.”
May we be encouraged as we travel with Christ in His word. It is not an exam, so please relax. It is an exercise is gaining wisdom and strength to glorify God and serve others. May the “new nature” dominate us so that we “bloom” for Jesus!
Have a great week and may the love of Christ be yours this day – God bless Pastor Ralph