Tim Keller | August 21, 1994
When Christianity is covered in the newspaper or on TV, it’s typically discussed and seen as a cultural or intellectual position. So people tend to talk about Christianity something like this: “Well, you know, there are various points of view on the nature of God, the soul, morality, ethics and the meaning and purpose of life. The Christian position is just one of them.” They try it on the way somebody tries on a dress, looking to see whether it brings out your best parts and hides your worst parts.
It is possible to adopt Christianity only in word. That means to say, “I accept the position. I accept the point of view,t the ideals, the beliefs.” You can do this and yet not have received it as it really is–as a power.
Jesus, without using the word, is saying the same thing here in this parable. He is saying Christianity is a ruling power. It’s not just a set of ideals, such as forgiveness or God’s love. It’s much more than that – it’s a power. Let’s consider two things about this power: Christianity is the power of new life and it is the power of growth.
The kingdom of God isn’t just a theory or a personal need, it’s a powerful force that changes everything, kind of like a mustard seed growing into a huge tree or yeast making bread rise. This force brings life and growth, not in a sudden, explosive way, but in a steady, life-changing manner.
1. Power of new life
Being a Christian is more than just following certain rules or saying sorry for your mistakes. It’s like being given a new life, like a seed sprouting from the dirt. When you’re born again or filled with God’s Spirit, you start to see things differently, let go of bad habits, and feel God’s love in a deep, real way. That’s what Christianity is really about. So, it’s important to check if you’ve really experienced this change, or if you’re just saying you’re part of God’s kingdom without actually experiencing its power.
2. Power of growth
Being a Christian means continually growing and changing, just like a mustard seed growing into a tree or yeast making bread rise. When God’s Spirit comes into your life, you start to become more like God in how you think, act, and feel. You learn to control yourself better, become kinder, and feel more loved and accepted by God. This change happens as you spend time praying, worshiping God, admitting your weaknesses, and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
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