Luke 3

John is in the desert and is “preaching a baptism of life-change leading to the forgiveness of sins”.  I love how scripture describes the process of salvation.  It isn’t just about the forgiveness of sin – it is about repentance which is what life-change is all about.  Turning around and going the other way.  Getting our lives right with God.  Putting off the old self and putting on the new God ways.  It all boils down to lordship actually.  That is what life-change is all about. A new boss in our lives – Jesus Christ.  The people were captivated by John’s baptism in the river and it was the popular thing to do so they were coming in droves to him.  But John isn’t about counting numbers.  He “exploded: Brood of snakes” he said.  It isn’t the outward appearances or things we do that matter to God.  It is the inside.  John says “it’s your life that must change, not your skin”.  Guys – we can do the right things on the outside but if our heart is not right with God it is all for naught.  It only impresses the people around us who really have no vote about eternity.  Pay attention to what scripture says here: “What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire”.  Are you “green and blossoming”?  What does that mean?  It means you are growing.  It means your relationship with God is going deeper and deeper and your life and character are moving toward holiness.  It means there is change!  Far too many of us resist change, even good change.  We like the status quo.  It is easy to sit where we are and not change things.  But God is not into change.  He is into growth and moving us toward holiness.  That is how we grow – we become more like Jesus.  John goes on to say that God is in the business of “changing you from the inside out”.  It will never be done.  We will never achieve.  But we must continue to be open to God’s leading and the change He wants to bring into our lives.  Of course the leadership of the day was not open to John’s radical approach.  Herod had already had a run in with John’s truthfulness in regard to how he was living, so he decided to shut John up and “put John in jail”.  The world won’t always like growth because it resists change too.  But God wants us “green and blossoming”.  It isn’t an option guys – it is an expectation?  How much have you grown this year?

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