From time to time, I make the mistake of trying to make changes to my life without asking or seeking God’s help. While determination, discipline and focus can be effective tools to alter bad habits, spiritual ruts and unhealthy patterns, human effort will only take you so far. I guess this is human nature’s way of learning the hard way. Whenever I reach a point of frustration, unsatisfied with the current state of my faith, responding to a convicted heart is the best place to start.
Even now the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; so every tree that does not produce good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire,” Luke 3:9.
In the first century, God sent a messenger to prepare the way for the coming of His son Jesus. Known as John the Baptist, this prophet used the Old Testament practice of purging to pierce the hearts of his audience. As individuals began to reflect upon their vast imperfections, many came forward to be baptized by John. Uncertain of what to do next, soldiers and tax collectors consulted John on the proper acts of penitence to pursue. This advice provided vision for these newly baptized souls, reaching a state of expectation, looking for opportunities to serve God each and every day..
The crowds asked him, “Then what are we to do?” 11 And John replied, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do the same.” 12 Even some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13 And he told them, “Collect no more than the fixed amount you have been ordered to [collect].” 14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us, what are we to do?” And he replied to them, “Do not extort money from anyone or harass or blackmail anyone, and be satisfied with your wages,” Luke 3:10-14.
Belief without trust, faith without action and hypocritical words are some of the reasons Christian churches aren’t flourishing like the first century. One of the main culprits for this spiritual stagnancy are believers void of any fruit, Galatians 5:22-23. If Christians are suppose to be the light of the world but lack integrity no one will take them serious. Meanwhile, if the church is suppose to be the salt of the earth but lose their saltiness, there is no flavor left to incite any kind of spiritual hunger. Therefore, if you want to reverse this trend, let the words of John the Baptist inspire you to reach a state of expectation influenced by the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.
by Jay Mankus