Ria and I have been watching the sunflowers in our garden and marvel how one little seed brings forth hundreds of new seeds. Such a task could be overwhelming, but it’s a process of natural growth. An apple doesn’t choose to push itself out of a branch one day by sheer strength. It slowly grows and matures, as long as it’s connected to the branch, drawing from the tree’s sap.
I often say that ‘results’ are the outcome of effort, but ‘fruit’ is the outcome of relationship. We stay connected with our true vine through an intimate daily relationship with our Lord and Saviour, drawing on His life, which develops and matures the fruit in our lives. I believe this includes the ‘works’ He has prepared beforehand for us to move in (Ephesians 2:10).
In John 15, Jesus says we can’t do anything without Him. For a long time, I wondered what He was talking about, because, in this world, we see what mankind has achieved without Jesus. One day I believe I got part of the answer; outside of Him we can’t do anything of eternal value or significance.
God hasn’t given us a new religion, but relationship and life. In fact, God’s gift is anything but religion. If we look at any religion, it’s always about man’s initiative and effort to gain the approval of his god. When we understand God’s heart, we see, throughout His whole Word from beginning to end, how God has always taken the initiative by providing the way for mankind to come back and remain in an intimate relationship with Him.
Right after the fall, God comes to man, sacrifices two animals, sews garments of their skin for Adam and Eve and dresses them. The fact that God Himself had to clothe them shows something of man’s desperate and helpless condition outside of Him. This is the Father Heart of God. He showed there was no true covering without the shedding of blood. Then, He prepares and sends Moses to free His people from Egypt. Finally, God sacrifices that which is His most precious and very best, His own Son, to die for us and pour out His life blood to free us from our arch-enemy and give us eternal life. Thus, the Father tore out His own heart for our salvation. When Jesus called out on the cross ‘it is fulfilled’, the thick curtain in the temple tore in two from top to bottom. God took again the initiative to make a bridge over the insurmountable chasm and restore relationship with Himself. Now we have free access to the throne of grace in the most holy and intimate place.
In Romans 8:32 we read, ‘Truly He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ If we remain in that intimate relationship, He’ll give us everything we need and beyond, and the fruit will just grow and mature naturally as we remain in the ‘vine’ (Jesus) and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. Our Father’s gift isn’t religion, but relationship and life. So, let’s turn to the One who’s made the way to bring us back into relationship with Him and who’s given us life, with all His riches, glory and blessings.
Prayer: Thank You so much, Heavenly Father, that You’ve called me and brought me into a place of intimate relationship with You. Please help me to stop striving, but to reach out for that intimate relationship which brings forth Your precious fruit and changes me more and more into Your likeness. May You be glorified through my life. Amen.
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