Thursday, April 02, 2009

Being Steeped

As I was making a cup of tea I had several insights into how the process of maturing in Christ is a lot like the process of steeping tea. At least four similarities came to mind.

First, it takes time. Just as it is nearly impossible to instantly get real tea flavor, it is very unusual for a person to take on anything close to Jesus’ real flavor quickly. It simply takes time to get there, as scripture reflects. Proverbs 4:18; Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18. See also Sirach 24:30-31.

Second, the process is expedited by heat. Although room temperature water can eventually be steeped into tea, the process occurs much more quickly with hot water. The same is true of taking on Christ’s nature. Both common experience and scripture teach that adversity—“being in hot water”—catalyzes our growth in Godliness. Hebrews 12:11-13; 1 Peter 1:1-7; 2 Corinthians 7:8-11; Deuteronomy 8:2-6; Psalm 119:71.

Third, strength is directly related to the amount of interaction. A cup of tea gets stronger the longer it’s in direct contact with the tea and we grow stronger in Christ the more we interact with Him. That dynamic is repeatedly reflected in scripture through instructions to pray frequently, to meditate on God’s word, and to gather together with other believers (who are the body of Christ).

Fourth and finally, the end result is pleasing. A well steeped cup of tea tastes great and gives renewed energy. Scripture describes that reality when it describes the fruits of a mature relationship with God.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Into the Wind

Some time ago I had to walk into the wind to get where I needed to go. That was not pleasant. On the other hand, when I was done there and going back, the wind was at my back and the walk was not bad at all.

That brought to mind the fact that scripture repeatedly uses wind to represent God’s Holy Spirit. John 3:8; Acts 2:2.

It occurred to me that walking into the wind is like going against the prompting of the Holy Spirit: It can be done, but the result is not pleasant. In contrast, moving in the same direction as the Spirit is much easier.

Other images relating to the Holy Spirit as to wind were posted Oct. 5, 2006, and June 18, 2005.