Thursday, March 27, 2014

Turn On the Power!

For years, I have purchased those yard light stakes, wanting something pretty that would give a little light in the flower beds.  Facing the hot summer sun and the extreme winds we have often in Southwest Oklahoma, most of the little lights didn't ever make it too long or put off much light at all.

Some time last year, towards the end of summer, I bought two more expensive light stakes.  I remember my son's quote when I bought them: "Mom, you buy those things all the time, but they never work." He's right.  They never had.  But these seemed better. They were a little more expensive, which is why I only got two of them.

We didn't put them out for a long time.  They just sat somewhere, waiting to be used.  Finally, I had my oldest son stick them in the front flower bed.  They were solar powered, but sadly, they didn't work.  I kept thinking that maybe he had done something wrong, but he assured me he hadn't.

A few weeks ago, I was at Walmart and saw some of those lights.  I noticed a coating over the sensor, so thought maybe that was the problem - he had left that coating on. When I got home I went to check the lights, but the coating was off.  However, I did notice something that neither of us realized the lights had on them: An ON/OFF switch!  Wow!  All of this time they weren't even on!   I couldn't wait to tease my son about this because it's usually me who doesn't notice simple things, not him!  Ha ha!

Would you believe that those lights have been working quite well ever since?  Imagine that!  They just needed to be turned on to be connected to their source of power!

This story reminds me of a Christian.

At first, when someoneone becomes a Christian, she is so excited!  (Initial purchase of lights)

"And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:38-39

She may tell others about her new decision to walk with Jesus, but right after that initial excitement....nothing.  (Telling my son about the new lights. Leaving them sitting around for months.)

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:14-17 

Nothing about her life changes.  She continues to do what she's always done.  She isn't doing anything that the Lord prepared for her, in advance, to do. She isn't involved with her church family.  She might attend worship - if she feels like it or doesn't have anything better to do. Some times things get in the way. She doesn't have enough time to worship the Lord. (Lights just sitting in a pile with other stuff. Not being used.)

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Then one day she realize that the on/off switch needs to be turned on (Flipping the switch and causing the light to work.) She realized that staying connected to Jesus and God is the only way to let her light shine!)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:1-8

She began to read the Bible daily. She began to pray more often and more fervently. She began to get involved with her church family more - going to worship each and every time, going to Bible classes, helping teaching classes, visiting others, staying after worship to visit, asking others questions and getting to know about her new brothers and sisters in Christ.

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:5-11

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26-27

She began to feel connected, and because of that connection, she began to notice things in her life that needed to change.

"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:16-18, 22-25

Just as my little yard lights didn't work without being turned on so that it could connect with its power (the sun),  a person's life as a Christian can't work unless it's turned on and connected to the source of POWER.  God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit - that is the power a Christian must have in order to stay connected.  And only then did she realize that the connection to the power would cause her to grow in her Christian walk.

Does YOUR switch need flipped on?

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