July 7, 2012 in City

Use your faith as hydration

By The Spokesman-Review
 
About this column

Three times a month, community columnists weigh in on matters of faith and values. The column appears Saturdays and features artist Donald Clegg, of Spokane, retired Methodist minister Paul Graves, of Sandpoint, and Steve Massey, a pastor from Hayden.

Cornfields, brown and brittle, stretched for miles in all directions, their promised bounty stifled by drought.

As I drove through parts of the Midwest last week, the effects of a heat wave cooking the region stunned me. Crops withered everywhere, warning of dire consequences just around the corner.

God often telegraphs naturally what is true spiritually: Just as plants need water to live and be productive, you and I need Jesus Christ in order to live and be productive spiritually.

Jesus said, “… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14 (New King James Version).

Jesus quenches our spiritual thirst, giving us life and purpose.

The Bible says this about extinguishing spiritual thirst: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord …” Acts 3:19 (New International Version).

We must repent – change direction – because we’re guilty of violating God’s laws. The best person among us still fails to measure up to God’s standard: perfection.

But Jesus, God himself, lived a perfect life, and then died on a cross as our substitute. He offers to exchange our sinfulness for his holiness, when we trust that his death on the cross satisfied God’s eternal punishment for sin.

That’s refreshing!

Last week, as I traveled through southern Illinois and Indiana, I was told that not all of the drought-ravaged corn would be destroyed. Some of the corn will survive, but simply won’t yield its potential.

I know there are many Christians who sense their spiritual life is a bit too much like that almost-dead corn: dry, unproductive, a mere whisper of its true potential.

Here, again, God’s natural order informs us spiritually.

A thirsty plant needs water regularly, not once. And a Christian needs an ongoing, vital connection to Jesus Christ in order to enjoy and express the abundant life that he gives. Anything that hinders our relationship with Christ crimps our ability to honor God with our lives.

I can’t imagine any of us would intentionally live through an entire day without drinking anything. We intuitively know to stay hydrated, or suffer the consequences.

Yet many Christians go weeks without “drinking” from the word of God, speaking with him in prayer, or connecting to his church. Theirs is a self-inflicted drought of the soul.

I know this, because I’ve done it myself.

Happily, the remedy is as obvious as our need for water when thirsty. The Bible says that those who love God and live by his word “… are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither …,” Psalm 1:3 (New Living Translation).

Do you long for a satisfying life, a life that is pleasing to God, a life anchored to the hope of heaven?

Then repent of sin and refresh your relationship with Christ by knowing and living by his truth. Speak to him in prayer. Aim your life in the direction of his will, rather than merely chasing after your own desires.

Don’t take my word for it. Consider once more the words of Jesus: “… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.


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