“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NASB)
As the weather cools off and longer layers are pulled out of the closet, a time-honored pass-time of sipping a cup of hot tea with a good book or good friend is enjoyed by many. This delight is enjoyed around the world in both solitary and social settings. Such moments are valued, treasured and protected simply because– we pause. We enjoy the aromas and mingling flavors as the steam curls atop our mugs and the work of the day must wait while we savor.
While chatting with a dear friend a few days back, something hit me about such moments—this is the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Walk with me on this…
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB)
We as individuals are like the tea bag (or even loose leaf tea, if you prefer). And on our own, we bring nothing of lasting and eternal value to benefit another. All we can offer is what we have (No one needs a tea bag by itself, still in its wrapper or still within its canister. No. no. no! It’s not until the wrapper of self is removed (Galatians 2:20) and placed into the waiting vessel where the hot water of the Holy Spirit will infuse a new work in us (Acts 15:8-9). It’s not a matter of getting our dried spices and herbs into the right order—the fact remains—all that we bring to the table, just like the leaves of a tea bag are, dead and dried. Yet, praise be to God, that no life is beyond the rescue and repair of God (Romans 8:28)! And just as the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of a valley filled with dry bones come back to life before His eyes as proof that God can make “dry bones live” (Ezekiel 37:1-14), so God breathes life into our dead and dry souls through the ministering work of the Holy Spirit when we believe—with EVERYTHING in us—that Jesus Christ is in fact the Son of God and indeed did all that He said He did.
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NASB)
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35 (NASB)
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” John 7:37-38 (NASB)
We do not possess, nor can buy, barter nor even steal this precious water—no, from one naturally dried up tea bag to another—things are pretty crispy and dusty! BUT…and isn’t that a beautiful word when speaking of the hope of God?…BUT!!! When it comes to God, He never runs out of refreshment for our souls! Thus, whether you are from the bread basket in America, the coast of North Africa, the inner cities of China or anywhere else on this vast planet—if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you WILL be saved (Acts 16:31).
“And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:8-9 (NASB)
The Holy Spirit is who activates the spiritual gifts and talents without our lives—and if we are trying to speak of Jesus Christ strictly in our own abilities, we will miss the greater blessing God has in store. How can this be?
Much like hot water releases the satisfying taste and welcomed aroma that was locked within the tea bag, God infuses our personally experiences, our talents and even our bents to be used for His glory and the good of humanity when we surrender each of our lives to Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13, 1 John 1:9). Thus, it doesn’t matter if one has been to seminary or is still in second grade—all any person, young or old, is required to do is COME to Jesus and be saved.
“11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NASB)
How do you come to Jesus this very day?
“You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.” Psalm 51:16-17 (HCSB)
Talk to Jesus and tell Him that you are tired of trying to look like you have it all together, when you know full well that there have been heartaches, mistakes and embarrassments along the way that you wish you could take back. It doesn’t matter if we can fool the world with touched up photos or dangerous/scandalous/expensive/exotic lifestyles; God sees the condition of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). God wants to give you a fresh start—and an eternal purpose for each day—starting as soon as you call out to Jesus as the Lord of your life. Why? Because it is at that point that every screw up and every shame are erased from your story in God’s sight. Dang—just let that soak in for a second! God is offering you a fresh start—a complete new beginning with a life willed with meaning, purpose and peace with God that is available right where you are today—regardless of your past or even your present—He wants to rescue you from eternal death and give you a new future through the finished work of Jesus Christ, His one and only Son.
Jesus lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death and rose victoriously on the third day—conquering death and the grave—to cancel the debt of death each one for all who choose to call upon Him as the one and only way to get right with God; because He is God (Isaiah 6:1-8). The Holy Bible tells us that in that moment of coming clean before God and surrendering the plans of each of our lives to the work of God and accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our specific life, God sends our screw ups and failures one way and us another—as the East is from the West—meaning, never to meet again (Psalm 103:12).Thank Jesus for coming into your soul and securing your eternal destiny through His finished work on the cross. Jesus, it’s in your name that we rejoice in these things today, amen.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)
If you spoke that to God for the first time and meant it in your heart, share it with someone! God wants to use you to forward His message of eternal hope and endless significance for each life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The question is, are you willing to tell others? Just like the hot water and the tea bag, God will use your gifts, talents and experiences to help reach others with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us be passionate about bringing cups of tea – our own stories infused with the Good News of Jesus Christ—to all the world, for they deserve to know of the God who loves them and gave up His only Son to die in our place to ransom us from the punishment we each deserve—all for love.