God is in the business of making things new. He takes sorrow and turns them into joy. He takes weariness and turns it into strength. He’s takes death and turns it into life. He takes old wine and turns it into new wine. The process of Christian growth is compared to the process of making new wine. The process of making new wine involves pressure and time. The best tasting wine is made over a longer period of time with pressure applied.
In a similar way, the process of renewing your life into one that looks more and more like the life Jesus lived will involve tension under pressure. Listen as Casey walks through this idea of growth under pressure.
Jesus says that the Christians must learn to abide in him in order to bear spiritual fruit. Abiding has a deep meaning of being unified, being at rest, and being connected. The word carries the ideas of visiting and encountering, but it is so much different than visit and so much deeper than encounter.
Even though abide brings a connection to resting, Jesus also says that abiding makes you a branch of the vine (Jesus) and that when you abide God the Father will prune you. Resting in Jesus naturally produces an opportunity to change.
Listen in as Cortney shares deep insights into this idea of abiding and how it relates to Christian growth and relationship with others.
When you think of the life of Paul, what comes to your mind? Maybe: transformation, mighty servant, passionate, zealous. He’s remembered for transformation and zeal because he once hunted for Christians because they dishonored God according to his understanding of God. At first, Paul had much knowledge about God but he missed the greatest piece of knowledge; Jesus as the Son of God. Although he knew much about God and lived a moral life, he ultimately proved that he didn’t know God because he thought Jesus was an enemy. That all changed when he encountered Jesus as the Son of God. He went from a zealous enemy of Jesus to one of the most passionate friends of Jesus.
The surprising fact is that Paul spent some three years after his encounter with Jesus before he began the work he is known for today. It’s easy to assume that Paul was an effective Christian from the first minute of meeting Jesus. As if he started writing parts of the Bible the minute he received his sight after the Damascus road incident. Yet, even he had to go through a time of basic training and growth before he became known as the great Apostle Paul.
A transformed life takes time to achieve and we often forget that. The transformation process is full victory but also full of failure and mess. As a church, we often expect a person to go from terrible sinner to perfect saint the minute after a prayer is said all the while forgetting that it took each of us many years to get to where we are currently at – still far from perfect practice. There is always a time of reorientation and learning. A transformed life is one built though many experiences that teach humility and wisdom. God walks with each of us on our own specialized learning plan to teach us who he is and how to depend on him. The Christian life doesn’t mean smooth sailing, but it does mean that God is with you and for you.
Scripture References: Acts 9:19-30. see also Galatians 1:11-24; Philippians 3:3-7