The Process....Part 1
The Process Part 1
When I think about the word process I think about the way wine is made. It is a very long process and has to be done right if the wine is going to be of good quality. It starts with a seed. A seed that has to die in order for the plant to take root and live. This is always the first step that any wine has to start from, a seed that dies. That is how our spiritual journey begins with God we die to ourselves and surrender to God. We say here I am God use me. Many times this is the where the fire comes from the excitement of experiencing God’s love for the first time, maybe hearing his voice for the first time, or having a supernatural experience that transformed your life and you knew it was God. Either way we each have a choice to die to ourselves. Dying does not mean that we transform into a robot or some other type of person. We still are who God created us to be. He designed us individually with certain emotions, characteristics, and personality that only we possess. A grape vine seed isn’t going to change into a cucumber seed when it dies. When the seed is planted it is watered and needs sunshine. This may be a cliché analogy, but as a young Christian is it important to be watered by being fed the word of God as much as possible. To learn the word of God and to stand on the personal things that God shows you through learning his word. His word is alive and it speaks to every individual personally. I have found that four different people reading the same scripture may take four different things from that scripture. That’s where my theological brain goes crazy. I study the word in Greek and Hebrew and take it for what it says when it was originally written. However, I know that God is alive today, his word is alive today and he can choose to speak to people through everything and anything. We have to trust it is God speaking to each person individually as long as it is not taken out of context to meet our personal agenda and does not contradict the word of God.
I am grateful for the way that God speaks to his children. It is always personal and it is always clear once you learn his voice. His word and hearing his voice have gotten me through so much in my life. Many times I have questioned if it is God speaking to me or if it is just the thoughts in my head. There was even a time recently that I allowed the enemy to whisper to me that I really have never heard God’s voice that all those moments were emotional experiences when I allowed my emotions to think I was hearing from God. I did not allow the enemy to run with that one for very long, because when God speaks mountains move and I have seen mountains move too many times in my life when God spoke to me and through me. When we let go and let God transform us we begin to grow. It can become frustrating because we want instant results. The one thing each individual needs to realize is that even though on the outside we may look small and not a lot is happening, but God is rooting us in him. Just as with a grape vine the planter may see a small twisted vine growing, but beneath the soil there is so much more going on. This is why I think it is so important for leaders of churches to understand the risk of putting new believers in ministry or in leadership early on. God designed this time to be a time of growing and becoming deeply rooted in him. I have seen too many times that a new believer is truly on fire for God. They are praying in services, they are raising their hands in worship and it appears God has done a life changing transformation, which he has, but the individual needs to walk through the process. When that new Christian gets put into a leadership position or ministry position they are automatically expected to climb the ladder of spirituality instantly. They are expected to live the life that everyone on the team is living. The problem is their roots are not deep. Yes they are on fire for God, but they are not deeply rooted in God to withstand the elements of the world or even the hurts from the church to not be pulled out of the soil.
Church can be a place that a person gets hurt the most or deepest. It is sad, but true. I have talked to so many people who tell me they believe in God, but they will never step foot in church again because of the pain they have faced. I have seen first-hand individuals who have gotten hurt and I have faced the same experience in my life. Church is supposed to be a place where the hurting can come and receive healing, love and acceptance. Many times instead individuals receive fake love, judgment and condemnation. This is not every church or every person in churches, but the church of America needs to wake up and truly realize it is not about us it is not about our agenda that matters. The only thing that matters is the heartbeat of God. His love is greater and stronger than any of us could ever imagine. He loves through the choices, through the anger, and through the pain. An amazing woman in my life once told me God is not surprised by my choices or by what has happened he knew all of this before any of it every happened. He is not surprised by anything you do because he knew you would do it. God knew it when he sent his son to the cross to die for you and he still chose to send his Son as the ultimate sacrifice. Even knowing you would turn your back on him he will never turn his back on you. He chose you, he loves you and he will never give up on you. I have seen it happen too many times where a young Christian is put on a ministry team and when they face a temptation or trial that they fail they are then removed from the ministry position. Even though God’s love never changed for that person they feel rejected, ashamed and condemned instead of loved, forgiven and accepted. The Church represents God and even though the church may not have completely rejected them they feel rejected. They feel their sin has been put on display for all to see and judge. If they do not have deep enough roots in God they may give up on church and possibly God.
When a grapevine begins to grow it needs something to climb up. Most times a gardener will tie the beginning vine to some sort of object to climb up. A vine grows upward to reach the fullest amount of sunlight it can receive. I love this analogy relating to our spiritual walk with God. As we begin to grow in Christ we grow upward. We begin to strive to know God as much as we can. We strive to please God, to love him, to hear his voice and to know his will for our life. The more we spend time with God the more we want of him. We hunger for his presence and to spend time with him. It is not a duty, but it is a privilege and an honor to be in his presence. As believers we need a sturdy structure to help us grow. We need mentors surrounding us to support us in our spiritual journey. We need leaders to be examples and teach us God’ s word, teach us how to overcome, teach us that even though we face trials his love never changes for us and it is all about the process that each of us must walk through in order to be completely anchored in him. There is a day coming that I hope we do not have to face, but as our world continues to walk away from God and walk toward individualism we need to be deeply rooted in God so that no storm will destroy us or our relationship with him.