God has put something in my heart to pray about. I need to see the evidence of His existence in my life. So that’s what I was praying before the “God moment” happened. Where is the evidence? Your word talks about “the fruit of the spirit”. Where is the fruit? Where is the evidence? I thought about the man in my community group who asked the question, “where are the streams of living water, the joy unspeakable and full of glory”? God always answers me – but in his time- if I don’t give up. You know that scripture, “ask and ye shall receive?” My understanding is that the original language infers that we “keep on asking.” So that’s what I do. My experience has been that if I “keep on asking,” God will always answer – but in His time. (Perhaps He does that because He knows me so much better than I know myself, so He knows when I’m ready to hear it.)
Today God answered. I was reading in the book of Romans about baptism. Do you know how many times that I’ve read these scriptures and had a full intellectual understanding of what they meant? I’m learning that I don’t fully know a lot of things that I think I know until the Holy Spirit reveals them to my heart. I really don’t.
The Holy Spirit showed me that when we’re baptized, we’re saying to those that are watching and all other believers, “I am going on a journey with you. This is not a one time thing, it’s a journey of death to self (symbolic of immersion) and resurrection to life in Christ (rising out of the water).” This is a very serious thing. It’s a declaration. It’s a promise. It’s a process. The Holy Spirit reminded me that, immersion proceeds rising out of the water. We must go under the water before we rise out of the water. Get it? Let me say it another way, we must be “crucified with Christ” (die to self) before we are raised to life. I am like the child who wants his candy treat before He cleans his room.
I am like a spoiled child. Where is the joy? Where are the fruit of your spirit. Where are the gifts of the Spirit? Where is my candy treat? Being a good Father, he says, “not until you clean your room”. Thank you God for your love. Thank you for being a good father.
You see if I love God so much that I’m willing to trust Him with the process of death to self (don’t worry, He will show you what that really means). If I trust Him to take me through that process (and I didn’t say that it would be easy), the fruit will be a natural bi-product. That’s when people will really see God in me. God is not going to zap me with fruit. Am I saying that I have to earn it? No, I’m saying that I have to draw near to God and make Him a priority in my life. In doing that, I will come to know Him intimately and love Him. That is when I will stop fighting the death to self part. That is when I will see myself as I really am – completely dependent upon Him. That is when the freedom comes, the freedom not to sin, because I love Him more than any inclination to satisfy myself at the expense of bringing dishonor to Him. Death is the only way to life and growth. It is the only way to that great big word called “sanctification” or that other word that people use called “recovery”. (Yes, we all need it even if we aren’t drug addicts or alcoholics). We have life only because Jesus was willing to go through the process. Was it easy? I don’t think so! But it was worth it. It is worth it. After all what does this world really have to offer us?
This doesn’t sound “earthly” does it? That’s because it’s not. This doesn’t sound natural does it? It’s not. It’s supernatural.
Am I there? Far from it. But I oh so want to be.
And one more thing – just because I’ve suffered, (and I have – a lot!) doesn’t mean that I’ve gone through the death to self process. It just means that I’ve had opportunities to go through It.
God is a God of order.