Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Like a mother in the pain of childbirth

I am sitting in our church sanctuary just enjoying the presence of God! Wow! So refreshing. As I was reading and meditating on God's Word, Galatians 4:19 caught my attention:

Galatians 4:19 (MSG) "Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ's life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth."

My heart was stirred as I stared at the phrase "Like a mother in the pain of childbirth". Paul is saying that is how he feels and will continue to feel until, Christ's life becomes visible in your lives.

Paul had a passion for DISCIPLESHIP. He didn't just want people to be saved or born again, but he wanted them to grow in Christ and become a DISCIPLE of Jesus Christ. That is our commission from Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) to make disciples, not just converts.

So the Holy Spirit asked me a couple of questions this morning:

#1 Is Christ's life visible in my life? Do my children and wife see Christ's life in me? Do my co-workers see Christ's life in me? Does my community see Christ's life in me? Does the cashier at Wal-Mart see Christ's life in me? Does the waitress at Cracker Barrell see Christ's life in me? Do the parents at my kids ball games see Christ's life in me?

As I asked myself those questions, I wasn't happy with the response that I got on each question. I want my desire to be as passionate as Paul's that not only in others, but IN MY LIFE, Christ's life becomes more visible in my every day decisions and walk.

#2 How am I doing discipling new converts?

I read Galatians 4:19, this time in the KJVR:

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth AGAIN until Christ be formed in you,"

The Greek word for formed is morphoo and means to form or shape, but originally was used by artists who shaped their material into an image. How ludicrous would it be to cast away the artists' work prematurely because of the way it looks in the beginning stages? In the same way, it is even more so ludicrous to cast away new converts when they slip and fall because of the way they look and act in the beginning stages of their salvation. Evangelism is messy at times. When sinners get saved, they still have issues that takes time and nurturing, for them to overcome. Remember, Christ is being FORMED in them.

The question that I felt the Holy Spirit ask me is, "whose travailing for them?" Who is as burdened for them as a mother in the pain of childbirth? I was convicted and asked God to help me do a better job helping Christ be FORMED in the babes in Christ.

One more thought. The greek word morphoo is from the word metamorphoo where we get our word metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process that causes a caterpillar to become a butterfly. Now think about this. A caterpillar is a stinky, ugly little creature. However, within that ugly creature is a BUTTERFLY just needing a little bit of time (and nurturing) to make it through the process of forming. In the same way, new converts will come to Christ and still have many hangups, habits, and problems, however, God has placed something within them that is beautiful that will take a little bit of time before it is manifested. Someone needs to travail for them, and nurture them to bring about Christ being formed within them. That is where discipleship comes in. It is a process that is well worth the travail and effort.

My prayer is, "Lord, help me to truly be like a mother in the pain of childbirth today.

Any comments? Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings!

God bless you all!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day,

Pastor Rusty L. Blann
First Assembly of God
West Memphis, Arkansas


Karateman said...

I am feeling the same things you are saying in your blog. As we were at Council I felt the Lord impress on me the passage where Jesus said He came to "seek" and to "save" the lost. The seeking is that evangelism where we we reach out and make the message of hope available to the lost. But the saving takes it a little farther than just our thoughts on salvation. The saving is a keeping and making able to live out what is obtained through salvation. That is the discipleship you are impressed with. Those pains of childbirth, sticking with someone through the ups and downs of working out of the old way of life and growing into the new person God is molding us to be. Works in progress. That is all of us, just in different stages along the way. I am with you my brother.