Of all the changes and important events that have happened to you this past year or before, the most significant and wonderful one is that you have had an entirely NEW BEGINNING in life: You have personally met JESUS, and the power of His Spirit of Love has begun to change your entire way of thinking and your whole outlook on life!
The moment that you asked Jesus to come into your heart, God's Holy Spirit began to miraculously transform your life!--And whe ther it seemed like such a major change at the time or not, asking Jesus into your heart was a very real and important SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE! God's Word calls it spiritual REBIRTH--being "born of the Spirit", or "BORN AGAIN"! (John 3:3-8)
With some people, the change in their lives is so drastic, so sudden, that you can SEE what an absolute MIRACLE has happened to them! Their whole life, nature, mind and heart is immediately transformed and is changed radically for the better! Perhaps for you, however, the change that took place in your life when you received Jesus may not have seemed quite that dramatic or emotional and may not have seemed to have had such a powerful IMMEDIATE effect.--At least not on the surface. But you have gone through a miraculous spiritual rebirth just the same! Besides, the FULL transformation that His Spirit brings about in our lives is usually GRADUAL! But if you CONTINUE to yield your life, your mind and your will to Him, your spiritual growth as a Christian will be SURE and STEADY! Receiving the truth of God's Word, like Jesus explained in "the Parable of the Sower", is like receiving a tiny SEED, and it takes TIME for that seed of truth in your heart to grow into a full, mature Christian life! (Mark 4:14,20,28)
It's not often that a seed just IMMEDIATELY springs up out of the ground; it often seems to be just buried there, lying dormant, with nothing springing up above the surface. But if you could see what was happening below the surface, the miracles and wonders of God's Creation would become apparent! Finally, when the new sprout pushes up through the soil, it becomes evident to EVERYONE that a new life HAS begun to grow! At FIRST you may even wonder if the seed is going to sprout at all!--But just give it TIME, and it WILL! As Jesus said, "The seed which was received into good ground symbolises people who, in an honest and good heart, having HEARD the Word, KEEP it, and bring forth fruit (good deeds and changes in their lives) with PATIENCE." (Luke 8:15) So just because you don't become a full-grown, mature, strong Christian overnight, don't worry!--Just have a little PATIENCE! You're still going to have problems and make mistakes, as we all do, but NOW at least you know WHO to look to for HELP! Remember, no one is perfect. Not even the great Apostle Paul counted himself to have become some kind of a sinless saint. He said, "I do NOT consider myself to have attained (already been made perfect), but this one thing I DO, forgetting those things which are BEHIND, I reach FORWARD to the goals which are BEFORE me." (Philippians 3:13,14) Like the Apostle Paul, neither you nor I are perfect Christians, but all the Lord asks is that we FOLLOW HIM as best we can and keep trying to go FORWARD and make progress. "This one thing" we can do!
You may wonder sometimes, "Have I really changed?" The answer is YES! Not only did you change when you first received Jesus, but as you daily read His Word and do what you know He wants you to do, you will CONTINUE to change! Your values have probably ALREADY begun to change, you are SWEETER, HAPPIER, you have more PEACE, and you probably even SLEEP better at night! All this is the work of His Spirit! And all you need to do is to let Him CONTINUE to work in your life, to change and remake you! It doesn't all happen in one day, but it DOES happen!
God's Word compares His saved children to a TREE (Psalm 1:1-3), and like any healthy tree, it takes TIME to grow strong and sturdy Christian roots. And because they are UNSEEN, it may not look at first like you are growing much. But the deeper and stronger your ROOTS are imbedded in the rich soil of GOD'S WORD, the greater and more fruitful a tree they will later be able to support! So if you think you're not growing much, don't worry! Just keep rooted and grounded and nourished in His Word, and you WILL grow and bring forth the fruit that God intends you to!
If you have the ROOTS of your faith planted firmly in the Word of God, you won't wither or be blown over by the winds of lies and doubts of the Enemy. Nor will your faith be uprooted if and when deep disappointments come. Colossians 2:6-7 says, "The same way that you have RECEIVED Christ Jesus the Lord, so LIVE in Him, ROOTED and GROWING in Him, ESTABLISHED in the faith, as you have been taught."
Just as a tree draws the nutrients and the very life that it needs from the soil, so the Christian must draw HIS life and HIS SPIRITUAL strength that he desperately needs from the Word of God. The only way you can grow strong and bear fruit, so that everyone will SEE and KNOW that you are a GOOD tree, is if you sink the roots of your life down deep into the Truth of God's Word and draw your spiritual nourishment from it by prayerfully reading and absorbing it EVERY DAY! "If you CONTINUE in MY WORD, you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you FREE!" (John 8:31,32)
Then you will begin to bear all the "fruits of His Spirit": Love, joy, peace, kindness and faith! (See Galatians 5:22-23)--And even more wonderful than this, as OTHERS see the change in YOUR life, they will want to know the secret of your happiness too!--And you can tell them how to know Jesus just as you have come to know Him!
By a miracle of God's Spirit, your life has had a wonderful NEW BEGINNING! So as you continue to grow in Him in this coming year, we pray you will bear MUCH FRUIT!--Not only in personal happiness and joy and faith, but also that you will learn to share the Lord's love with others around you, helping THEM to find His Love and His Salvation, and a NEW BEGINNING in life like YOU have found!
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