“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” – Colossians 3:10
I love to witness to people, but I often succumb to discouragement when they reject a personal relationship with the One who loves them more than life itself. Even with Jesus as God in the flesh walking among them, they still rejected Him. His own siblings did not believe He was the Christ until after His resurrection. This dismissal of Jesus, then and now, puzzled me until my pastor husband reminded me of Mark 4:14-20, which chronicles the four types of soil into which we sow the seed of God’s truth
Some people that we witness to receive God’s Word like seed sown alongside the highway. Satan comes along with his sly deception and snatches the seed away. The second type of person has a stony heart, and though they joyfully receive our witness, they never develop deep roots. Therefore, when trouble or persecution comes they blame God for their misfortune and fall away. The third group is so enmeshed in the thorny worries and cares of the world, or the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for carnal lusts and earthly possessions that their preoccupation chokes the seed of truth they received, making it unfruitful.
Only one-fourth of our audience actually possesses fertile soil, which is tilled and ready to receive the seed of the Gospel of Christ. Only these people are ready to take His Words to heart (1 Peter 1:13-14). They accept God’s truth and allow us to disciple them, until they in turn start to disciple others and to produce a spiritual crop of their own. Making disciples actually begins prior to Salvation, when we first share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone. Once they accept Jesus’ sacrifice for them on Calvary’s cross, we can encourage them to continue growing in Christ though the sanctification process, until they are "conformed to the image of God’s Son" (Romans 8:29).
What does it mean to be conformed to Christ’s image? From birth, we bore the likeness of a carnal, worldly, earthly person. Once we are Born Again by the Spirit of God, we take on the image of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49). God raises us with Christ from the death caused by sin. We reflect the glory of the Lord as the Holy Spirit transforms us into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are renewed in the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:10). As we pursue eternal, heavenly concerns and focus on the things of God rather than temporal, earthly ideals and goals, we die to self and our life is then hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).
Sanctification means holiness. God chose us as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. He called us out of the darkness of a sin-filled life into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9). We must put off the old nature with its self-centered deeds before we can put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:24). Then, He wants us to live a life worthy of Him, one that pleases Him in every way and bears the fruit of good works as we grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:12). God desires for us to live like the Holy One who called us, to be holy in all of our behavior; because God declares, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Prayer:Lord Jesus, every person we share the gospel with is given a choice to accept or reject You. I know this is important, because You never send judgment without a warning first. Please move by Your Spirit to draw all who hear Your Truth to make a decision to serve You with their lives. Help us not to grow weary in reaching out to those You place in our path. Send those to us who are searching for Your seed of truth. Help us to disciple and faithfully nurture and encourage them, so that this seed of truth produces more fruit in their lives and in the lives of all of those, which they disciple.
Thought for the Day:A true relationship with God does not develop from a one-time repentance of sin, water baptism or a quick silent prayer. It is a lifetime commitment to grow spiritually into the fullness of the stature of Christ.