You are the strength of my life, my Joy and Salvation.
I see a blossoming tree in spring, maybe a redbud or a weeping cherry. It’s been raining, and the moisture on the blossoms sparkles in the light. It’s a picture of freshness, cleanness, bursting-forth life.
This is what I want for you and for all My people. Life, freshness, joy, love, the right kind of passion.
This life bursts out of the soil of humility and spiritual hunger, a holy dissatisfaction with the level of fruit on one’s own life. When I say this, I don’t mean morbid introspection or a gnawing sense of guilt or shame. No, it’s rather a restless kind of joy, a kind of anticipation that in Me, there’s always something more: something deeper, something purer, something truer. Hungering for righteousness in anticipation of being filled. Crying out for wisdom in anticipation of receiving it. Or as Paul put it, “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.….” (Phil 3:14).
There are other elements in the soil of this bursting-forth life besides humility: love for the scriptures, forgiveness, worship, service, meditation. All of these elements are really just means of connecting with Me. We talked about this a few weeks ago. The spiritual disciplines aren’t ends in themselves. They’re means to an end. They connect you to Me, the Life-giver.
Back to John 15, huh?
Sure. I’ll always bring you back to John 15 and/or Psalm 1 because they’re central to your understanding of how life really works. Abide in Me, bear much fruit. Saturate your soul in My word, you’ll bear fruit in due season. Apart from Me, nothing happens. The Spirit produces life, the self-directed efforts of the flesh produce death.
Of course, the soil also has to be enriched with a deep undertanding of My grace and the riches bestowed on you through the Cross. Without that, even the principle of John 15/Psalm 1 will get corrupted and you’ll find yourself “striving to abide”, constantly examining your own branches for fruit.
Chill out. This life doesn’t come through striving or constant introspection. It’s joyfully received by faith and expressed through a heart that’s been set free from the law.
I’m not saying this bursting-forth life is passive or effortless. But the soil is the thing. It’s joy, freedom and peace, not guilt, shame or a gnawing sense of inadequacy. Of course you’re inadequate. Don’t focus on that. In Me, inadequacy is irrelevant.