Possibly the worst advice you could give a new believer today is to tell them to go to church.
Not mentioning the false concept of the church being some place we go, there is just as much unbelief in the church today as there is without, but all of it is masked in spiritual language, making you believe it is the Christian life.
It's self-seeking emotional satisfaction to inoculate us from hearing the simple message of faith and believing God.
When I first believed in God, I was still very lost and broken, even though I was healed of severe depression.
I hung around other believers as I devoured scripture, not realizing that everything I was reading was being subconsciously re-interpreted by the context of the believers around me.
Simply stated, my standard for how to live a life of faith came from the people around me, not the Bible.
Jesus told the woman at the well that if she knew who it was that asked her for a drink, she would ask him and he would give her water that would become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
This was clearly signifying the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus was in constant relationship with and through whom he was constantly connected to his Father in heaven.
Jesus said to ask our Father in heaven and he would give us the Holy Spirit. He told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high.
The early church believers all received the Holy Spirit with clear evidence of tongues, prophecy or praise. They were filled and a spring of living water was flowing out of them into the world around them.
The early church turned the world upside down... or right side up. They were flowing with living water.
If you lived at that time, I wonder if you would rather worship idols. It was certainly easier, avoiding all the persecution of Rome, but it was also self-seeking.
The church today encourages self-love and self-esteem to rise above problems. Jesus told his disciples to die to their own desires and hate their own life.
The only way you can love others is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
If you love God with all, what's left for others? Nothing. That's the point. All your love is spent, putting all you have in God who longs to give you the Holy Spirit, filling you with his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
The only way to truly love others is to love God, but it is taught today that you must learn how to love self first. We've gotten it all backwards.
If you love yourself, you cannot love others. If you lose your life, you will find it in God, and his love will flow out of your belly in springs of living water to the world around you!
Is it true? Do you really have this living water as Jesus promised? Maybe not. Many Christians today are taught that believing in Jesus is equivalent to receiving the Holy Spirit, but being filled with Holy Spirit was a separate event for believers in the book of Acts.
You might be living a life without power because you don't have any power. You just have your own strength, which you aren't supposed to have anymore. It should have been all used up loving God. So what strength you have after that is only his strength, praise God!
For us who are Spirit-filled believers, we believe we have received and the living water from God is a spring within our belly, flowing out to eternal life.
If it's true though, why do you live like the world does? Why do you quarrel and gossip like the world? Why do you hold back forgiveness like the world? Why are you sick and tired like the world? Why are you struggling to get by like the world?
Is it really true? If it is, I wouldn't know by looking at much of the church today.
Jesus said his disciples freely received, so they can freely give. At the end of Revelation, Jesus said he would give to the thirsty the spring of the water of life without payment.
The water Jesus offers is free! But you must reject the polluted, dirty water of self-love, being controlled by emotional pleasure and worldly reassurance which lives selfishly caring self at the expense of others.
Unfortunately, many go to church and discover there is no water being offered. It's only feel good worship and feel good messages. My brother, I want you to be blessed, but bless God, it won't come from me.
Seek the source of blessings, even God, and he will freely give you his water when you turn away from the world's promises to fulfill through entertainment and technology.
When you come to God, leave your life on the altar as a living sacrifice and drink. Drink freely. Receive all from him and you will have a spring of life within you.
If it's really true, he will flow into your body, giving you health. He will flow into your mind, giving you peace. He will flow into your soul, giving you emotional stability. He will flow into your finances, giving you prosperity. He will flow into the people around you, giving you opportunities to disciple others. He will flow into your future, giving you a living hope.
There is a better way to live! Detox from the worldly church culture and read the Bible in all its simplicity. Then choose to believe it. Jesus said to heal the sick and cast out demons because we were meant to do it. He said to love others as he loved us because it's possible. He said we could move mountains by speaking to them because he gave us the faith to do it.
All his commands are attainable when we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and drink freely of his living water.
Get over yourself and allow him to fill all of you, flowing through you to his glory, not your own. It's always about him and it will always be about him because it has always ever been about him.
Christ is the image of the invisible God. Whose image are you created in? It's time to start living the life you were called to.
基督是那不可見之神的形像。 你是在誰的形像被創建的？ 現在該開始活出你被呼召的生活。
And it all starts with a drink.