If you are a tea enthusiast, then I am sure you have a certain method for preparing the perfect cup of tea. I like to leave my tea bag in the hot water beyond the recommended time in order to extract the most flavor and color while I go about other tasks. Others like to casually dip their bags in and out of the hot water as they talk, read, watch tv or just daydream. It’s funny how a simple cup of tea is something we can become so persnickety about.
The cup of hot water where the tea bag remains is transformed, while the cup of hot water where the tea bag is dipped results in very little change. We see Christians who approach their faith in similar manners; some are steeped in their faith, while others dip in and out to their liking. 1 John chapter two answers the question, “How do we know if someone really knows Jesus?”.
Verse six says, “The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.” When we remain in Jesus, we are like the water that is transformed by the tea bag. The water becomes like what is contained in the tea bag. The color, flavor and smell permeate throughout every droplet of water through the simple process of just being there. When we remain in Jesus, we become like him.
How does it look to remain in him like 1 John 2:6 says? It looks like a believer who reads his word daily, who prays without ceasing, who is in church, whose thoughts and actions align with his word and who loves and forgives others. Earlier the disciple John penned Jesus’ own words, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
In my teenage years, when I would date a guy, my cousin would always ask me, “Is he the real deal, Holyfield?” This was her way of checking to see if the guy I was spending time with was really a Christian or if he was just giving God lip service. And it didn’t take long to figure it out. Matthew 7:20 says, “You will know them by their fruits.” Christians who remain in Christ are easy to spot because of the good fruit they bear in their lives.
Sadly, some Christians resemble the tea bag that is casually dipped in and out while they remain preoccupied with things the world has to offer. Their approach to their relationship with Jesus is dipping in and out of prayer time, dipping in on scripture when it suits them and even dipping in and out of church. The result is very little change.
There are many Christians who want a life that is truly transformed by the power of the cross. They are good and earnest in their desire, but they are preoccupied by things other than the cross. In the new year I encourage you to examine your relationship with Christ. Does it resemble the tea bag that remains or dips in and out? “Remain in me and I will remain in you”. John 15:4.