The kingdom of God is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which, when it is sown, is smaller than any seed that is ever sown. Mark 4:31
What can I say the kingdom of God is like? It is like the yeast which a woman took and covered up in three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen. Luke 13:21
One of the things that I have seen again and again in the church and Young Life are teens (or adults) who have made commitments to Christ that are deep, real and life changing. Then they get around their old friends, and their old habits, and their old influences, and they fall back into their old patterns of destructive living. The good news is that I am old enough to see that many of these come back to following Christ. What happened to that first commitment, and what caused the 2nd turn around?
Jesus talks much more about the subtle change than he does the St. Francis of Assisi dynamic, “take off all your clothes and run out of town naked” change. Change seems to happen slowly, subtly, like yeast affective the bread dough. When that person starts to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit has been invited into their thinking, and their lives. The Spirit slowly changes the thought life. “As a man thinks, so is he.” Once we make a decision to be a Christ lover, it allows us to make that next decision to be led by the spirit. Even though teens easily fall away in the short term, that commitment that they made makes it possible to make the next choice to allow more light into the darkness. Each resolve to move closer to Love, allows the Spirit to slowly work on the inside. Spiritual growth thrives in the midst of our problems not in their absence. Give any back-slidden person lots of love, space and no judgment. Use the ministry of presence. Let the small seed do its work. Patience and Peace.