I love a good cup of tea. My affinity for the brew began as a little girl playing tea party with my dolls and friends. Tiny pink plastic cups and saucers, along with a tea pot graced our miniature table. My friends and I donned feathery hats and high heels and clopped to the table with pinkies held high.
Since those days, I’ve drunk my share of herbal teas which claim to treat everything from the common cold to constipation. I don’t know how effective the medicinal teas are, but I do know that tea is one of my favorite comfort foods, accompanied by a good book and a cozy comforter. Through the years I’ve read much about making a good cup of tea. I’ve found it interesting that the tips for brewing tea can also be applied to the Christian life. Now, when I drink a cup of tea, I think of these tips and am encouraged to live a life steeped in God. Perhaps you will find them helpful, too.
Tip one: The fresher the water, the better the taste. Freshly drawn cold water is the best choice when making a cup of tea. Water that has been reheated can give tea a flat taste. The quality of the water will influence the flavor. That being the case, you may want to use purified or distilled water.
In the same way, we as Christian women need the fresh water of God’s Word every day to grow our spiritual lives. Living off of one scripture verse for an entire year, engaging in sporadic devotions, or constantly feeding ourselves with second-hand water, as in other people’s thoughts on scripture, will leave us dry and craving for more. Psalm, chapter one reminds us of the importance of being firmly planted by streams of water (God’s Word) so that we can yield fruit and discover God’s purpose for our lives. In order to be firmly planted when the harsh winds of adversity come, we must be regularly meeting with God through His Word and prayer. Furthermore, Jesus promises the woman at the well in John 4:13 that “everyone who drinks this water (physical water) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Just as tea requires fresh water to bring out the best flavor, so we need fresh teachings from God’s Word every day to bring out the best in our spiritual lives.
Tip two: The longer you brew, the richer the taste. For a perfect cup of tea, cover the cup to retain the heat. Watch the clock, not the color. Because of the many varieties, some teas are dark, while others are light. Most tea experts recommend three to five minutes for green and black teas, four to six minutes for herbal teas, and six minutes for wellness teas.
Just as a flavorful cup of tea takes time, so does growing the Christian life. The psalmist, David, understood this concept. One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 119 which reveals David’s passion for God’s Word. David says, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). David knew that the longer he steeped his mind and heart in God’s Word, the more he would live a wise and godly life. He didn’t pay attention to the changing circumstances around him. He chose to focus on God and His instruction. In doing so, he became known as the man after God’s own heart. David brewed a life that was rich in godliness. We need to follow David’s example by taking time to linger over God’s Words to us each day, and then put what He is telling us into practice.
Tip three: Squeezing the bag enhances the flavor. To squeeze or not to squeeze? That is the question tea connoisseurs have debated through the ages. The final verdict: Since tea leaves can absorb up to seven times their weight in water, compressing the bag can actually enhance the color and flavor. So give that bag a gentle squeeze before removing it from your cup.
Scripture promises us that a life steeped in God Word will bring persecution. If we are actively sharing what God has taught us from his Word, we will face opposition at some time or another. But God tells us to “rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Trials, temptations, and testings in whatever form are designed by God to apply pressure so that our faith will be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2, 3). And God knows exactly how much pressure to apply to each individual. One of His greatest promises to us is that He is faithful, “he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). And when the squeezing is over, our lives, as well as other lives around us, are enhanced for the Kingdom!
Tip four: Sharing a cup with a friend breeds intimacy. Just as I enjoy sipping a cup of tea with a friend, so also I should enjoy sharing Jesus with my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who need to hear my testimony. Some are saved and need encouragement; others are far from the Lord and need an active witness of His grace. Telling others about Christ breeds joy and intimacy with the Savior.
Steeping tea takes time and patience. So does brewing a good Christian life. But the final outcome is well-worth the time and care given. Why not find a cozy nook, settle down with a steaming cup of tea, and open up God’s Book? Commit yourself to growing a life steeped in God.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance (OakTara), first presented this post as a talk at a women’s tea a few years ago. One of her delights is to speak to women, helping them discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story! www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com