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Friday, June 15, 2012

Some Steps To Help Grow As A Christian

    Many years ago when I was still driving a truck for a living.  I came out of the truck stop after lunch and proceeded to my truck.  When I got there a young Mexican driver was setting on the driver's side step.  At first I did not know what to expect. As I approached he asked if this was my truck.  I replied "Yes" and he proceeded to ask me why he was not growing as a Christian. he had been saved a couple months before.  He pointed to the scripture on the side of my hood.  Proverbs 3:5-6 "Lean not unto your own understanding, trust in the Lord and he will guide your paths."  I told him that is the answer.  He looked at me confused and I asked him if he had to be anywhere soon?  He said "No" and I offered to go into the restaurant and discuss the matter with him.
     He proceeded to tell me how he had been saved and baptized and then gone back to work driving a truck.  He said he did not feel like he was growing as a Christian.  He evidently was because he was seeking God in his life.  He reached out to me because of the scripture on my truck. I asked him. "Would you have done that before you were saved?"  He said, "No"
    The conversation proceeded and I told him he was seeking God in his life and that is the first step to growing.  In First John 2:27 the Bible says, "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."  This verse came to me when I was questioning my faith just as he was.  It makes very clear that God will guide our steps if we pursue him.  Just as the verse on my hood says.  Do not try to understand it on your own.  God will open the doors and provide the path we are to follow.  We just need to remember that Jeremiah 17:5 say, 5Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man.  And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord."
The key is staying focused on God and what His Word says.
    Really it is pretty simple.  Micah 6:8 lays it out.  "He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy,  And to walk humbly with your God?"  As long as we follow this we can not go wrong. Probably the only other rule I know of which basically equals the golden rule is remembering the Lord's Prayer and especially  Matthew 6: 14 and 15. We are to forgive others or we will not be forgiven.  Forgiveness is conditional. If we harbor hate in our hearts we are not walking with the Lord.  We have to give it over to God and let him deal with the problems.
     Just knowing Jesus does not lead to salvation. Mark 6:3-4 makes it clear.  Jesus went to his home town and it says he could do no work there because of their unbelief.  They had seen him grow up and they refused to believe he was anything special.  In fact it says "he marveled at their unbelief."  Yet in Matthew 8:5-13 the Bible relates the story of the Centurion who came to Jesus and asked him to heal his servant.  Jesus said he would go and do it.  The Centurion said, "I believe it.  Just say it and it will be done."  It says Jesus marveled at his faith.  So Jesus marveled at two things belief and unbelief.  Which side of that coin do you want to be on.  We need to know when we take things to him he will deal with them.
    In the Book of Joshua it makes clear what is required of us.  Chapter One, verses 7-9 makes clear how we are to walk with God. 7“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Pay special attention to verse 8.  Who makes our way prosperous?  We do.  How do we do it by staying in line with God's Word.
      If you truly trust in the Lord, he will guide your paths and he will open the doors. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way"  When it comes to making decisions sometimes it is hard to determine what is us and what is God. The Bible says we are blessed when we wait on the Lord.  If we are unsure, from my experience it is better to sit and do nothing till God moves us than to step out on our own an possibly in the wrong direction.
   After talking awhile I told him it had taken me years to find some of the verses that I had shared with him and if he used them to guide his steps he should be okay. Then I explained to him that it was easy to get impatient with our walk, but we are growing.  I told him how I got to where I was at in my life.  It had been a long walk.  At times I did not feel like I was growing, but being a Christian you start out like a seed.  You receive the Word of God and get saved.  Then you grow slowly at first.  Sort of like when a farmer plants a field with corn.  For a long time he sees nothing and it does not seem like anything is happening, but it is.  Then all of a sudden he sees little green things coming up all over the field.  They are not impressive at first but they continue to grow. Slowly they get larger as the season goes along.  Then one day he comes out and he has a field of standing corn.  It will have several ears on each stalk of corn and hundreds of new seeds on each ear of corn.  New corn and new seeds, just like he was when he started his walk with the Lord. The farmers job is to weed, water and tend to the needs of the growing plants.  In due time harvest will come and the corn will be gathered.  Looking back the corn will not really see how it got to that point in its life, but it will have grown just the way the Lord ordered its steps to grow.
     Another comparison I heard a preacher use once and liked is being an orange.  Oranges do not struggle to grow.  They just do.  They hang around the tree of life and slowly they absorb the sunshine and grow to be a full grown orange. All they have to do is stay on or with the tree till they are grown.  If they fall away they will shrivel up and die.  It is staying in the tree (Word) that they grow. It gives them the nutrients they need to grow.  They will become what they were meant to become.  They will not become apples or grapes,  they are oranges (Christians) and they will stay oranges as long as they feed on the tree(Word of Life) that feeds them.
    So just stay at what you are doing and someday you will look back and see how much you have grown. Just having this conversation and you understanding what we are talking about is a sign of growth.  A person who is not saved would probably think we are babbling and talking nonsense, but we know who we follow and he will guide our steps.  Our only obligation is to keep following and putting our trust in him. If we do we will continue to grow.  Just knowing that where two or more are gathered in his name, he is present. So the Lord is here and helping us to give you what he needs for you to understand.  It is helping me grow also. It is showing me that by being willing to share his Word he will use me as he sees fit.
   After about three hours we parted company, but I know someday our paths will cross again. We will be able to give each other a thumbs up farther down the path.  When we are seated at the marriage supper of the Lamb, knowing we have made it.

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