Steeping my tea this evening in the kitchen, kids quiet in bed and just Adam and I letting our shoulders down after a long day, I smiled at how God can use simple things like tea to teach me. My dear husband and I were discussing how when we pray for something, typically in one way or another God gives it to us. This was in the context of character training. When we pray for Him to show us how to be more ____(fill in the blank) He does! At that moment I was watching the water in my cup go from clear to tea colored, because that’s what I put in it.
Well, imagine for a minute that we are the tea bag and our circumstances/LIFE are the water, and God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are the air around the cup. God the Father, in His Sovereignty, continually dips us in the water of life just enough to saturate us, then brings us back up to get some refreshing air. Then, making sure we don’t get too much air only, back in we go. Over and over again. And what temperature is the water when you’re making tea? Yes, HOT… boiling! Ever felt HOT circumstances? And what happens to that tea bag as it’s continually immersed over and over again? It bleeds over into the water and flavors and colors it according to what was in the bag.
2 Corinthians 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.”
Through those HOT water times of life, God is steeping out His qualities that He put in us, and will use those to encourage, color and strengthen those around us, and in the process be a pleasing aroma to Him! That is what I call hope!
On the other hand, have you ever tasted bitter tea? They make it. I guess some people like it. Not wanting to take a simple illustration too far, but if you put a bitter tea bag into water, you get bitter tea! And to that I go to an illustration Jesus used when speaking about fasting. The question was, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (Mat 9:14) Jesus began to answer about not sewing a patch of new cloth onto an old one, for the new patch will pull away and mess up the whole thing. Then, He says, “Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins.. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (9:17) In other words, Jesus came to establish a new covenant. The old one is gone and can’t even be mixed with the new one.
In the same way, our OLD self must be poured out to allow for the NEW self, created to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness, to be poured in. The only problem is, as long as we wear this skin, that old self likes to feed off the bones we toss it. Before long, it’s nourished and taking form again. Truth is, however, even if it does take form, it’s only a corpse, because for those who are IN Christ, we are a NEW creation! The old has gone, the new has come. And that is something to Praise God for. That He can take even the bitterest and nastiest tasting TEA, and turn it into a TRIUMPH and an aroma that is pleasing. AMEN!!