That night in the vineyard, Christ shared with the disciples that they were “already clean because of the word [He] had spoken” (John 15:3). Not many of the 11 truly understood what Jesus meant. Walking with Him day-by-day made them take the depth of His presence for granted. They failed to realize the, “Word became flesh and made his dwelling among [them]”, and they could not see “his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Just as the vinedresser carefully cut shoots off the vine with the pruning hook, God removes the things from our lives that stifle our growth and keeps us from producing for the Kingdom. Our pruning hook may look like a job that pushes us past our limits or relationship that needs to end. It may be God encouraging you to be compassionate with someone who is not deserving, or forgiving someone who hurt you. God’s pruning is not meant to hurt us, it is meant to purge us of the things that are keeping us from operating at full capacity for the Lord.
We are offshoots of the true Vine (Christ) that God tenderly and methodically planted in fertile ground. God is the Gardener of our souls. He searched beneath what looked to be the barren land of our lives in order to “break the soil” of past experiences and bad choices we’ve made so He could prepare our hearts to plant seeds of purpose (Isaiah 5:2).
Your Lent experience is your opportunity for God to pour his Living Water into your dry spirit. Your focus should not be, "How do I make it 40 days without this thing that I’m so used to consuming?" Instead it should be, "How can I open myself up to God over the next 40 days to have a life-altering, soul experience with the Father?" In order to have that experience you must be willing to delve deep into God’s word, and you must be willing to speak to, and take the time to hear from, God through prayer.
Many of us look at Lent through the eyes of our flesh, believing we won't able to do without that thing from which we’re fasting for 40 days. However, the long-term benefits of sacrifice outweigh the short-term pleasure of pleasing our flesh. You see, Lent can be a beautiful experience where you are no longer distracted, and can hear God’s voice clearly. The Lord will use those 40 days to plant a seed in your bosom that will blossom in the next season of your life. You may not believe me now, but if you truly take part in this journey, you will come to understand.
January not only marks the beginning of the new year, it's also my birthday month AND the month I celebrate the anniversary of my #SundayNightSessions Podcast. I do have some great things in store for you this month that I cannot wait to share, but in the meantime, please take a moment to SUBSCRIBE to the podcast so you won't miss the messages God has for us.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 is one of the most direct statements about what love really is. The scripture states, “love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast; it is not proud. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It does not keep any record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This scripture is God’s road map for what loving someone really means and how He wants us to transition from feeling love to living, doing and being, love.