Did you ever think that Jesus’ story from His birth to His death and resurrection might echo how He comes to us: first as a baby, a tiny commitment that matures and matures in us until we can see the risen Christ and we have been truly reborn? Every year our church calendars detail the big events in Jesus’ life. Can we look at every calendar year and our own lives in Him to see how we are growing and changing in Christ?
What is He birthing in you this season? What is He healing in you? What new thing is He calling you to do? Or to study? Or to be? Jesus talked often about those who can see and hear and those who can’t. As we live in a partnership with Him, we gain more and more understanding of who He is and the meaning of what He taught. I have come to believe that we are growing in Christ until the day we die. There is so much that we have to learn and to understand about ourselves and our world and our God. There is so much peace and love and mercy to be gained that we come to as we are healed of all our pain and suffering over a period of years.
Like every other plant and animal on this planet we are evolving and changing, growing and maturing, then moving into a dying mode, only to be reborn again. Death and resurrection are the story of life on this planet and of our lives. Death can be of a dream that died or the loss of a close personal friend or family member; it can be an ability in us that we counted on that’s gone, for whatever reason. We may have lost our home or job—these are all deaths that we face throughout our lives.
May I repeat the first sentence of the last paragraph: Like every other plant and animal on this planet we are evolving and changing, growing and maturing, then moving into a dying mode, only to be reborn again. If we’re stuck in the way we think or in how we are in the world, then we have opted out of this natural cycle for whatever reason—fear, anger, whatever. We are meant to evolve and change. We are meant to take in new information and reassess how we think based on it. We are meant to grow in Christ, to go from a believer to a follower to a disciple as we commit at deeper and deeper levels of our being.
The only way to do this is to be an active follower of Jesus, to listen to Him, to do what He suggests for us, to be true to this Indwelling Spirit of God. For listening to Him will school us in all that we need to learn, it will heal us of all that stands between us and God. It will lead us to our own purpose, to doing our work for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
The question is for each of us is this: Am I willing to follow Jesus wherever He would lead me? Will I go all the way with Him leading, will I give us my ways and desires for His desires for me and use His ways to do that? Will I wait for His signal to start whatever? And for His signal to end the same? Will I say to this person or that one exactly what He suggests? Will I be true to my God?
If we are willing to go where He takes us, then we will find ourselves healed and at peace with whatever happens in our lives, for we will have learned to trust Him with our lives in every aspect—family, work, leisure time—every part of our lives. We will see His blessings and grace, His caring for us, His love and forgiveness of us. We will see His plan for us develop before our very eyes.
This is really all He asks of us—our willingness and faithfulness to follow Him wherever He would lead us. And as He suggests this or that—usually just a bit beyond our comfort zone, He will also help us accomplish what He asks of us. He will be beside us in all we do. He will be our major support. He will be our Partner, our Mentor, our Guide, our Friend.
And for us, He carries the burden of our work, so that we are free to just do it as we follow His lead. It’s the lightest burden possible, because He is also in charge of the effectiveness of our work in the people we serve; He prepares the ground in them so that they can hear what we offer that is His. And there we are fulfilling our creation as we were designed to be. So we walk in peace and joy, love and patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control(in all humility knowing that all our needs are being taken care of). As we follow Him faithfully and willingly, we are given the fruit of the Spirit. We have matured in Christ to fulfilling all our talents and gifts, our creation as God envisioned us.
In terms of birth and death and resurrection, we are reborn as we move out of this world into the mind of Christ; we are filled with the Holy Spirit as we bring forward our faithfulness to God and allow Him to heal all our rebellion. We are resurrected as members of the kingdom of God, ready to serve in any capacity Christ asks us to.
Questions to ponder over the weekend: How do I experience this birth/death/resurrection cycle in my life? Am I aware of every challenge leading to death and resurrection if I don’t resist them? Is Jesus being reborn in me with new understanding, new awareness of His presence in my life? Am I willing and faithful to Him above all else? If not, what am I withholding from God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are born and die and are resurrected in a life-long pattern of growth into our truer created selves. May we be willing to go where He would take us. May we be faithful above all to God.
a week in your email, go to patsaidadams.com/by-the-waters-blog/. There’s a gift waiting for you.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. June 6th is titled “Be Still.”