“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” —2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV)
I remember vividly the day I was born again. The Nazarene church our family used to attend was having its annual Fall Revival. I do not remember the name of the evangelist or the song selection or the text of the sermon. What stands out about that night is the strong awareness the Holy Spirit brought about my desperate need of a Savior. That night, as I knelt at an altar in the front of the sanctuary and repented of my sin, Jesus changed the trajectory of my life.
Have you ever thought about how your relationship with Christ has evolved over the years?
As a pastor, it has become obvious to me that some people are more mature in Christ than others. Often, the difference has little to do with the amount of time they have been a Christian. How do we grow in Christ?
We understand that anything that takes place in our lives is a work of God. He is the author and finisher of our faith. We are born in the Spirit, baptized in the Spirit, and grow as we walk in the Spirit. However, we recognize that there is also a call from God for our participation in the work He desires to do in us. We recognize that God works when we trust and obey Him. He wants us to seek after Him and do the work that exhibits a lively faith!
His promise in Jeremiah is that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.
Regular participation in church worship, Bible reading, prayer, baptism, Holy Communion, fellowship with other believers, and acts of service to the church and community are all activities that help us seek God. I have resolved to spend my life intentionally placing myself in the position to be directed by the Lord. There is great reward in seeking Jesus!
This seeking does not contradict God’s work, but complements it. Our faith is living, not philosophical. As we seek, we find. There are moments where God acts to do full, complete, and finished works in our lives. That night many years ago, around an altar, I was adopted into the family of God. It was not partial, it was a full welcome into being an heir with Jesus Christ.
I remember another night, years later, when I knelt at an altar and fully surrendered my will to the will of God. I entirely consecrated my life to Him and did not hold anything back. The Holy Spirit sanctified me through and through! These are two moments that I have sought to live out ever since. The process of maturing is seeking to fully live out the ramifications of what God has done in my life. Maybe this week, as we place ourselves in places of obedience and trust, God will direct our hearts.
Jared Henry is lead pastor of Mackey Church of the Nazarene in Mackey, Indiana, USA.
Written for Coffee Break.