Friday, May 14, 2010

Instant in Season and Out

Why did Jesus curse a fig tree that was fig-less when it was not the season for figs? What did the tree do that was wrong? It was not the season for figs. The tree was exactly as it should have been. Yet Jesus cursed the tree and it withered and died in short order. Why?

Our Lord obviously meant this as an object lesson of some sort.

Compare Jesus’ interaction with the fig tree to Paul’s admonition for Christians to be instant in season and out of season. This is obviously an important concept for God’s people to grasp and implement if we are to be effective in reaching people for Christ.

Instant in season and out…Be ready—for what? Be ready to give an answer to all who ask of the hope that is in us. This suggests, not just prayer, but preparation and study. Study to show thyself approved…and don’t forget to pray.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Microwave Faith

   Quick fixes are in.  
  As little effort as possible and instant gratification are in-things. Remote controls can operate almost anything. Microwaves heat food in seconds and cook it in minutes. Hi-speed internet eliminates almost all waiting when web-surfing. Due to impatient drivers, roads have become more hazardous. Waiting for anything has become almost unthinkable.

   Due Time...?!? When exactly is that?
   It helps to understand that there are some things that will simply never occur at the high speeds our technology-driven society has conditioned us to expect. Although modern parents do everything in their power to transform toddlers into miniature geniuses before age three, there is a limit to how fast babies will grow and mature. There are no shortcuts.
   Likewise, there are no shortcuts to growing from a baby Christian to an adult Christian.
  Spiritual growth requires a healthy diet of reading and studying the Word of God, along with obedience to the simple commands and gaining the experience to know how to rightly discern and respond to the rest. And that requires nothing less than . . . time.
   Most of us come to the Lord with baggage in one form or another: wrong ideas, unhealthy mental/emotional defenses, impaired emotional development due to attempting to deal with life's problems our way, or the way our parents taught us, or the way the popular culture teaches us. 
   Oprah and Dr. Phil do not have all the answers you know.
  Some of us come to the Lord with physical health problems, financial difficulties, relationship or marriage problems. God is able, even willing, to give us miracles in all these areas. That is always a possibility, and we should never--ever--rule that out.If we truly need a miracle--ask for one. But the probability is, that, in most things, God will allow us to work out our own deliverance-- with fear and trembling. 
   The Bible says. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Fear of the Lord is the only healthy fear. But even that must be tempered with knowledge of his Word and his love.
   When we acknowledge God in all our ways, so that he can direct our paths--that means obedience to what we understand about the Word of God, and making it a priority to gain more understanding  (Proverbs 4:7).
   We are talking about "prospering our souls" (3 John 1:2).
   Jesus said, "be doers of the Word and not hearers only." When he said that, he was clarifying the fact that he is no prescriber of quick fixes.There is no such thing as remote control, hi-speed or microwave faith. God moves fast. He travels on the wings of the wind, but faith must be developed. 
   And that takes . . . time.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. But if we are hearers only and not doers, we cannot expect faith to grow . . . No matter how much time we give it.