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New Life Can Bring a Mess...

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest (Proverbs 14:4. NLT).

One does not get far in learning to be a disciple without relating to others in the Church. We are all at different levels in our faith. Some are young in the Lord and need to be fed the milk of the Word of God (Hebrews 5:12-13), while others need solid food (Hebrews 5:14) so that they can grow to the point that they can feed others. The Church must help believers to become mature, for only adult sheep reproduce. It is a law of reproduction that one can only have children when one has reached the stage of maturity to care for the one born. Even Jesus took three years of training His disciples before He left them to carry on His work. Every church needs mature Christians to care for those who are young.

Often a great deal of mercy and patience is needed by mature believers when those who are new to the faith act out of relational or emotional hurts and needs. It is important not to allow the enemy to come between the mature and those who are young in the faith and need the milk of the Word to grow. Satan would love to create division in the Body of Christ and in so doing, destroy the testimony of the Church. Wherever God is at work and new life comes about, there is also likely to be messy situations that go with it. This kind of mess should not surprise us. Oxen can be messy animals when it comes to cleaning their barn, but a greater harvest comes with healthy oxen to plow the fields! (see Scripture above).

In the early days of the Jesus movement in California in the nineteen sixties and early seventies, many long-haired hippies came into the church after being drawn by the Spirit of God in a time of revival, but many refused to sit on the pews. They wanted to sit on the floor and listen and worship. This behavior irritated some of the older elders and deacons in many churches to the point where they wanted these young newcomers thrown out of the churches for not behaving ‘properly.' What is more important? Clean empty church buildings or those full of passionate, hungry, open-hearted, young Christians? Some of those young people, viewed as unkempt and non-conformists by the older generation of their day, have now become strong church leaders today. To be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be pliable and easily swayed to the move of the Spirit and accommodate others in the Body of Christ.

Keith Thomas


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