Life At Its Best: Respect God's guidelines
By Jim Graff
Have you ever had a believer approach you and say, "God's going to do something great in your life?" As a young Christian, I often accepted that phrase as shallow encouragement and didn't take it as seriously as I should have while enduring the trials I faced. But I soon found that what those believers were saying was true. God did want to do something great in my life. And He wants to do the same for you.
How can we be sure? Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever." See, God can bless our lives. And not only does He have the ability, but He also has the desire.
In the Bible, Jesus instructs believers that to receive this blessing, we must follow his guidelines. One of those guidelines is Baptism, and He outlines three different kinds to his disciples: a baptism of water, of wind and of fire. Most of us are familiar with water baptism. It's an act of submerging in water to symbolize an old nature's death and a new life in Christ. If you haven't been baptized in water, I encourage you to do so. It's a liberating experience as you let go of any guilt or condemnation and emerge with a new sense of hope for your future.
Then there's the second baptism - the baptism of wind. Down here in South Texas, we know what wind is. And we know that, especially in hurricane season, you can't see the wind, but you can certainly see where it has been. That's how our lives are after we've allowed God's wind or Spirit to baptize us. Whether we're with our families, participating in a business deal or simply talking to the checkout girl at Walmart, we have a certain "wind" or "air" about us that makes it obvious to all that we're living close to Jesus.
Finally, we're to be baptized by fire. Now, obviously, I don't mean we should literally be dunked in flames. In Luke 12:49, Jesus explains this baptism when He says, "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled." Jesus was urging us to live with passion - both for God and for the things He created us to be passionate about. God may have given you a desire to write, draw, speak or work with money. Whatever your passion is, allow it to be used for the Kingdom of God. By doing so, you'll open the doors for God's goodness to flow freely into your life.
Remember, neglecting God's guidelines brings fear and uncertainty. But respecting them brings a peace that powerful things can and will happen in our lives.
Jim Graff is senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.