Acts or Ax? - Matthew 3 Blog
Today I spent part of my Time Alone With God (TAWG) reading in Matthew 3. This whole chapter was filled with great nuggets of information. For instance, I loved that even Jesus Himself got baptized by John the Baptist. This is one of many instances in scripture where Jesus is leading by example. The scripture that stood out to me the most in the chapter, however, was: “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10)
I love how John the Baptist basically paints a picture with what he is saying to the Pharisees and Sadducees in this scripture. Why? Well, I like it for two main reasons: 1.) I am very much a visual person. 2.) Because that also tended to be how Jesus spoke to people throughout scripture, through parables and visuals. Let’s take a look at that visual and make some sense of it. Summarizing it, any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. If a tree isn’t producing fruit as it should, then it makes sense to cut it down and use it for fire wood instead. Furthermore, cutting the tree down at the root clears space for a new fruit producing tree to be planted in its place.
Well, I’d be doing that scripture a huge disservice if I stopped there. Now we need to make that scripture personal to ourselves just as John wanted the Pharisees and Sadducees to make it personal to themselves. You see, the Pharisees and Sadducees felt that they were automatically going to Heaven because they were descendants of Abraham. But, John is literally saying, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” and then he goes on to say that Matthew 3:10 scripture. He is saying that it doesn’t matter what family you come from, it’s about the fruit that you personally bear. So, it doesn’t matter that your grandfather or father is a pastor of a church. It doesn’t matter that you simply grew up doing the ritualistic religious stuff and going to church every Sunday because your parent made you go. What matters is how fruit bearing YOU are as an individual. No one else can get you into Heaven. So, we as individual must focus on this: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. In other words, let your lives prove your change of heart.
As a single man of almost 38 years old, I am certainly ready to be married already and am searching for my wife, as the bible says, “He who FINDS a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). In this process of looking for my wife, I allow myself to be guided by a couple of scriptures. One of them is “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), so I know that I am certainly not looking to marry or even date a girl that is not a Christian. The other one that I follow closely is, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). So, if I see a girl that I am interested in, I first find out if she is a Christian. If the answer is yes, then I am instantly more interested and am ready to begin to move forward and learn more about what being a Christian means to her. In other words, what are the fruits that she is bearing? Does she go to church regularly? Does she serve at church? Is she involved in a bible study? Does she pray regularly and have a good personal relationship with Jesus? Does she read her bible regularly? What types of people does she hang out with on a regular basis? What kind of pictures does she post on social media? All of these questions and more are very valid and important to me because they are measuring up the woman that I plan to spend THE REST OF MY LIFE with and I want her to be a woman that is always encouraging me to grow in my relationship with Jesus as I will be doing that same thing for her.
So now, I must take a look in the mirror and apply this scripture to myself. Is the ax at the base of my tree? Am I bearing fruit? My future wife is likely keeping her eyes open for her husband to walk into her life and I hope that she is asking the same questions of her husband as I am ask for her. So, of course, I am going to church every weekend AND serving at church. I am praying and reading my bible daily in order to grow in my relationship with Jesus. I spend a majority of my time with Christian brothers that will help me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. Some of these men are my accountability partners and mentors as I want brothers in my life that are constantly encouraging me to stay on the straight and narrow path to Jesus, and keeping me from slipping off on other detours that lead to sin and self-destruction. I ask Jesus daily to use me as a vessel (His hands and feet) in divine appointments. My purpose in this life as a Christian is grow closer to Jesus each and every day, to be a willing vessel for Him, to be a “fisher of men”, and to be a part of “The Great Commission”.
So, I end my blog with these thought provoking questions for myself and for YOU: Am I living a life that is glorifying to Jesus? Would Jesus truly look at my life and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”? Do people in my life know that I am a Christian? Who are the people in my life that don’t know that I’m and Christian and why? What areas of my life am I bearing good fruit? What areas of my life need to be pruned (cut out) so that I can bear better fruit for Jesus? Please, for the sake of the amazing relationship you were designed to have with Jesus, stop holding on to areas in your life that are not glorifying to Jesus. Holding on to sin, will hinder the close relationship you were designed to have with Jesus. Sometimes just haven’t certain people in your life can hinder your relationship with Jesus as those people might just be holding you back? Take an honest inventory of your life (tree) and see where you can begin to bear better fruit. : )
P.S. I feel led to add this last paragraph to the end of my blog. If Jesus Himself got baptized, then it should be pretty clear that baptism shouldn’t be taken lightly as something that is an option to do as Christians. Baptism is something we as Christians should absolutely experience for ourselves. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 17 years old. For some reason I waited until I was 26 to get baptized. I have no idea why I waited so long, but I kept putting it off and telling myself that I’ll do it some day when the time is just right. I kept thinking that I wanted it to be perfect and that I’d have family and specific friends at the event. Reality, if you keep waiting for the perfect time and set up, it may very well never come your way. So, if you are a Christian and you haven’t been baptized yet, I highly suggest that you get yourself signed up for the next baptism that your church is doing. The people that can and want to make it, will make it… don’t stress about the ones that can’t make it. Reality is, baptism is something that we do out of obedience and it is about us publically displaying our commitment to Jesus in front of the church. If you keep putting it off, it might very well be because the enemy doesn’t want you to get baptized. The enemy is already upset that you are a Christian and he would prefer that you sit stagnant in your relationship with Jesus rather than moving forward in obedience by getting baptized. So, if you have not yet been baptized, maybe you should take this paragraph as a sign that it is YOUR time to do so.
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