Friday, June 7, 2013

Grow in the Son light

Our family recently returned from a vacation in Branson, Missouri, which is located in the Ozark Mountains. "Mountains" is a misnomer, since none of the large hills are the height of mountains.  These hills are covered with tall, lovely trees.  From a distance, the hills look like they're carpeted with trees, and I half expect to see Paul Bunyan and the Big Blue Ox to come strolling through.   They are beautiful and I love to see them every year. 

The two major highways that take you to Branson from St. Louis, Hwy. 44 and Hwy. 65, were made by carving through several of these tree covered hills.  As we drove through these hills, I looked at the trees up close and noticed that the trees were only green at the tops.  The trunks were mostly bare, and the ground was rocky without much vegetation. There isn't much vegetation on the ground of the balds because the trees are so crowded together that not much sunlight or water reaches the ground.  As you may remember from biology class, plants need sunlight and water to grow. 

The hills that look great from a distance reminds me of many megachurches today.  They look great from the outside and on the surface - large, fancy buildings, entertaining music, sermons with fancy PowerPoint presentations, but these churches are so large that there isn't a lot of fellowship or encouragement to grow in Christ.

The trees with the leaves only at the top reminded me of some Christians who are only Christians on the surface.  They go to church on Sunday and talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.  They act good in church on Sunday, but live for the world the rest of the week. When these "surface Christians" are in churches where pastors exhort them to read their Bibles more and have a deeper relationship with the Lord, what do they do?  They leave those churches and find churches that preach what they want to hear, to satisfy their itching ears.

Jesus had those kinds of folks to deal with too - the scribes and the Pharisees. On the outside, they were all good and followed the Law to the nth degree. But on the inside, they were full of darkness.  Jesus called them hypocrites, as in the following passage from Matthew 23:27:  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." The Pharisees didn't like being called hypocrites. 

Jesus is not satisfied with us just spending time with Him on Sunday morning and not during the rest of the week.  He wants us to spend time with Him by immersing ourselves in His Word and spending time in prayer. That's how we get to know Jesus.  Jesus wants a close, personal relationship with us.  We need the water of the Word to help us grow.  We need the light of the Son to help us grow. We need to be rooted in love, as in Ephesians 3:17: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love. . ."

So dear reader, examine yourself.  Do you have a deep, growing relationship with Christ?  Do you spend time reading your Bible daily and immersing yourself in His Word?  Do you spend time in prayer?  It's not too late to start.  Don't be a "surface Christian."

If you're reading this and you haven't repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Savior, it's not too late.  Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with you, but you have to reach out to Him.  All you have to do is ask. “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” - Romans 10:9-10, NKJV

That's all for now! Thanks for reading.  See you next time!