When I was in my twenties, we understood that we had a lifetime to grow, mature, to build a life. We knew we would have to build it one decision at a time and many things at that age were like sowing seeds We would plant the beginning of things and expect it to grow with time. That could be a career, starting at the bottom and working up. It could be a ministry, starting with nothing and seeing the Lord grow it into something. It could be family, starting with a kiss. It could be getting into real-estate, buying a small home and eventually moving up to one the suits a growing family. Same with cars and so on. We never expected to start with an end result but always the beginning. It took patience, determination and time.
It is no different with our spiritual walk. We start off with the cross. The cross never leaves us but we need to recognize that it is the beginning point, the door made open for us. The cross is what Jesus did for us, what we could never do for ourselves. But being a beginning means that there is much more. We are like a seed that needs to grow, mature and flower so that we can bear the fruit of the Spirit. My concern is that we are trying to skip ahead in the maturing process. Too many of us want the advanced lessons before the foundation is set in place. The foundation takes time, patience and work. The foundation is the Bible, prayer, service, stewardship and such.
For three years Jesus taught his disciples. They were on a steep learning curve. Also in that time Jesus did a lot of miracles. People loved the miracles. They flocked to him because of them. People love a great show. But Jesus also spent a lot of time teaching, instructing, preparing and maturing his disciples. Can you imagine what three years, 365 days a year, would have been like with Jesus, with him using every opportunity to teach and demonstrate truths to those disciples, that seemed beyond their comprehension. There is one small scripture that caused me to reflect on this.
Jesus had just cast out a demon. Now, to you and me it might seem mundane after having read it so often, but to these people it was amazing. I am sure it would be amazing to us too to actually see it rather than just read about it. That's part of our problem, we leave everything on paper instead of living it through our flesh. We too have the power to cast out demons, not just read about it. But I digress. Read this with me:
And they were all amazed at the majesty of God.
But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples,“Let these words sink down into your ears..." (Luke 9:43-44a)
Everyone wanted the show but not the foundation. Perhaps the disciples wanted the advanced lessons on how to do miracles too but they were still struggling with the foundation. No one wants to learn the baby steps before running a marathon. No one wants to spend their time learning 1+1=2 before grasping E = mc2 . No one wants to take lessons to ride a bike, they just want to jump on and go like all the other kids. Jesus insisted that his disciples receive what he had to teach. He wanted his words to sink down into them because they would need them where they were going.
I have studied the greats, the heroes of the faith, and one thing that they all have in common is their love for Jesus. Each of them spent hours in prayer, worship and the Word of God. They tithed, were good stewards of their time, served the people. This was the foundation, the seeds planted everyday, that grew and were used mightily by the Spirit. The Spirit could use them because they made themselves ready and available to be used. If we want to do great things, be everything Jesus called us to be, to walk in the fullness of Jesus, we need to take care of the foundation.
The miracles come from somewhere. The great sermons come from somewhere. The teachings of revelation come from somewhere. The unrelenting service of love comes from somewhere. It doesn't happen with hocuspocus. You don't just wake up with it one day. It takes growth and growth happens from foundations. It comes from foundations because it is in foundations we learn to die to ourselves, to allow the Spirit to do what he wants through us, and that everything is possible with Yahweh. Without these things being the very fabric of who we are, we will never get to the advance classes. Without the foundation we will never step into our destiny with Jesus.