The Tea Bag
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Have you ever observed a tea bag in hot water? The tea bag contains the essence of the tea. Tea leaves ground down and put into a porous bag, when submerged into the water, slowly begins to drift into the water. Streams of dark and light brown drift into the vessel, mixing into the water. The water cannot resist the tea as it slowly does its job. You do not need to stir, or shake the water for the tea to overcome the water. The longer the teabag remains in the water, the darker it becomes, then the substance in the cup is no longer water, but tea. Everyone who walks by and sees your cup knows you are about to enjoy a hot cup of tea.
So it is as you surrender to Christ. The Spirit of God enters you and goes to work. Now if you were to remove the tea bag as soon as you had placed it into the water, then you would not have tea. Jesus warned us that we should remain in him. “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.” (John 15:4 NIV). The only way for the tea bag to turn the water into tea is for the teabag to remain in the water.
Through this constant interaction the molecules transform the water into tea. Romans 12:2 says not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. So how do we renew our minds? What does it mean? How are we Transformed? How do we remain in Him?
We can remain in him through prayer, study, and fellowship. If you look at the life of Jesus, he was in constant prayer throughout his ministry. He made is a point to pray, it was his priority, even over sleep and eating. Prayer is spending time with God, being in his presence. They Lord says that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to you. (James 4:8). Have you ever had someone that you wanted to spend time with and had made plans to do something with them? You spent time making arrangements, reworking schedules, and anxiously waited for the time that you could see them, just spend a little time catching up and seeing how they were doing? Then on the appointed day, they called off, or even worse, just didn’t show up… and maybe didn’t even bother to speak to you about it. Imagine what your heavenly Father feels like, he rearranged, creation, made sacrifices, and waited for you, and you didn’t even spend time to talk to him today.
If you love someone, you want to spend time with them. You can’t wait to hear their voice. Talking with someone is a way to let them get to know you, and for you to get to know them. It makes you both feel special and needed. If I never spoke to my wife and learned what her likes and dislikes are, how long do you think I would be married? By watching her I can learn allot about her.
God has given us all kinds of information about himself in his word. In fact he even told us that the bible is so much him that it is synonymous with his being. John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In reading the scriptures we gain insight into the very character of God. I can tell allot about a man, by the way shakes my hand, and the way he talks to his wife and children. I can see the way he sees himself by his posture. We can tell allot about God by the way he treats his bride. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the work of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Not don’t get confused, Paul was not saying that the work is what saves a man. God forbid, Salvation is through GRACE. What Paul was saying is that we should know the scriptures, we should know our faith. We should know who we believe in. We should know Jesus. Being with likeminded people can help us to develop and maintain this fellowship with Jesus.
I know you have heard that “Birds of feather flock together”. This is true. 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns us, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers, for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Of what fellowship can light have with darkness.” Have you not heard where it is written, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)?
Being with fellow believers strengthens your walk. In Alcoholics Anonymous, you meet as a group, of likeminded people, who suffer from addiction and support one another to overcome this disease. You get a sponsor, you to meetings, you work the 12 steps, and you share your testimony. And for those who do these things, it works. Does this sound familiar?
If you’re a Christian, you seek out like-minded people seeking to grow closer to God. You get a mentor, you go to church, bible study, fellowship diners, and you share your testimony. For those who do these things, IT WORKS. If an addict falls of the wagon, then it is almost impossible for them to get clean again, and they will more than likely die from their disease. But the signs of this progression are not hidden. They stop going to meetings, they stop working the steps, they lose contact with their sponsor, they revisit old hangouts and hangout with old friends who still use.
Remember the tea bag. The more you stay in the vine, the more fruit you will have. The healthier your relationship with God will be. The more you will know who God is. The more you can share with others who God is. The darker your tea will be.
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