From the Desert to Springs

Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The Wilderness

A wilderness, metaphorically speaking, is a place in the heart of some humans that is barren, unfruitful, and unproductive spiritually. It is uncultivated, undeveloped, lacking in spiritual growth and nourishment, and spiritually neglected (ignored, forgotten).

And, this describes the lives of many people in America who call themselves Christians, and who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. Their spiritual lives are dry, unfruitful, lifeless, and dead or mostly dead. They are not bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom, because they are not abiding in Christ, but they are still living to please the flesh (John 15:1-11).

So, this is where we need to prepare people’s hearts to give their lives over to Jesus Christ in surrender to his will, so that they can live lives which are spiritually productive, alive, bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom, growing in their faith, and becoming spiritually mature in Christ.

We must teach them the straight way and the narrow way of the cross of Christ. For, too many wolves in sheep’s clothing have been feeding them feel-good messages which tell them that faith in Jesus Christ means they do nothing. They are telling them, or they are implying to them that faith in Jesus Christ requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ, and no submission to Christ as Lord.

So, they have this idea that they can have their ticket into heaven, but that they can go on living in sin, to please the flesh, without regard for God the Father, and for Jesus Christ, and for his commandments. Thus, they have no fear of God, no respect for his holiness and righteousness, and they do not love God or know God, if they refuse to obey him and to do what he says.

Preparing the Soil

So, for us to prepare the straight way for barren hearts and lives to be able to be spiritually alive and bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom, we must uproot all these lies. We must dig up all of these lies and expose them for what they are. We must expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are so that the truth can be revealed.

And, then we must begin pouring the truth of the gospel into people’s hearts and minds. And, the truth is not found by taking Scriptures out of context to make them say what we want them to say. We can’t build our doctrine of salvation on one verse, or on one passage of Scripture, or even on one book in the Bible, either. We must read all the New Testament to fully understand the gospel of our salvation, and the grace of God.

For, Jesus Christ didn’t die that horrible death on a cross, becoming sin for us, just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. In his death he put sin to death that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our bondage (addiction) to sin and to empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. With his blood he bought us back for God so that we might now honor God with our lives, with our bodies, and so we would no longer live to please the passions and desires of our flesh (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Co. 6:19-20).

God’s grace, which brings salvation, is not just a get-out-of-jail-free-card. His grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. For, this is why Jesus died, to free us from our slavery to sin so that we might now live our lives to his glory and praise (Tit. 2:11-14).

But this isn’t optional. We don’t “get saved” and then one day we die and go to heaven. What lay between “saved” and “heaven” isn’t up to us to decide. And, our salvation is not a one-time event in our lives, either. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus comes to take us home to be with him and our salvation is complete.

We must walk (in practice, in conduct, in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God. We must walk in the light as God is in the light if we want to have fellowship with God and to be cleansed from every sin (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). If we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. If we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; 2 Co. 5:10; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

So, if you have been convinced that your salvation is secure, that heaven is your eternal destiny, but yet you deny Jesus Christ by your lifestyle, and you are continuing to live in sin, to please your sinful nature, without regard for the Lord or for who you hurt in the process, know the truth. Heaven is not your destiny. This is what the Scriptures teach. You must walk according to the Spirit of God if you want to have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26).

Enough for My God

By G. M. Eldridge

In God is the light, the brightest day.
He taught me to walk the narrow way,
Yet still I chose the path that was broad:
O, how could I be enough for my God?

With mercy so sweet, He led me along.
He held my hand, and gave me a song,
Yet still I sinned, a shameful fraud:
O, how could I be enough for my God?

I never had dreamed the day I’d see
the Son of God, who died for me,
Yet here by His side, I stand in awe:
Washed by His blood, enough for my God.

And who could forgive all the sins and the flaws?
O, how could I be enough for my God?
But gently He’ll lead by staff and by rod,
And help me to be enough for my God.

I just want to be Enough for You, God!

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