Continuing yesterday’s thoughts, I wonder if we’re trying to force new wine into old wineskins.
Do we, at the church, focus on the fruit before the root?
Can we really ask people to bear fruit before they have been renewed supernaturally by our Lord Christ?
I guess we can always ask, but can we really expect it?
John 15 appears to tell us we really cannot:
The branch can’t bear fruit by itself, but only if it remains in the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. People who remain in me, and I in them, are the ones who bear plenty of fruit.
Without me, you see, you can’t do anything.
Without a life-giving connection to the risen Christ, can we live the life He has for us?
Sadly, I see a lot of burst wineskins come out of many churches. With a lack of focus on connecting to the Source of Life, people stay “followers”–always a few steps behind. People remain dependent. Then if something or someone fails them, they’re left out in the cold, instead of still confident in God, understanding humans are limited and will fail us time to time, but always seeking their life from Christ.
As my spiritual partner has been asking lately, “Don’t you have to become independent before becoming powerfully interdependent?” Are we too dependent? The reign of God enters an individual heart first, then becomes a tangible force in the world and with others.
I believe that God wants to give each of us a new heart–a new wineskin– so that it can handle the pouring in of His new wine.
I see more and more why Billy Graham preached the way he did. He knew conversion was needed before moving on in the spiritual life. The heart needed to be surrendered to God so it could be regenerated by Him, making it possible for new Life. Abundant Life.
Many abused this of course, and “conversion” became nothing more than a one time prayer with no follow up. So maybe it was real, maybe it wasn’t. Then we got away from preaching conversion by God, and it became more about works, all the while saying works alone can’t save you. Confusing as hell.
So are we putting the “Cart of Transformation” before the “Horse of Regeneration”?
More on that later…