God loved us enough to bear the pain of persecution, be beaten and ridiculed by those he helped and healed, and endured the crucifixion in order to fulfill the prophecy so that his death and resurrection would yield freedom for you and me. Now that is true love and “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creations, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
We must be obedient to be used by God. Our obedience is our way of letting God know that our spirits are willing and that we are ready to be molded by him. It is our way of informing God that we want to participate in His plan, that we want to be used by him to bless others. More importantly, our obedience opens the door to the most important relationship of our lives, with God, our Father.
The Christian Standard Bible’s (CEB) translation of John 15:7 states: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you”. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to “remain” means to “stay in the same place”, to “continue unchanged”, and to “be part of, not destroyed, taken or used up”. These three definitions offer vital insight into understanding what and how God wants us to develop relationship with Him.
Our spirits wither when we are not connected to the True Vine, our Lord and Savior. You can find evidence of this in your life. It looks like toxic relationships filled with chaos and confusion; affiliations with people who have no business being in your life; bad choices you keep making; wounding yourself by speaking death over your life; not recognizing that you are a child of God. These withered experiences take you right in the fiery furnace of life…but there is hope!
We all have a habit of telling God what we're going to do. These conscious, or subconscious, actions show up when we decide we want to do what we want to do, when and how we want to do it, with minimal input from God. We don't call on Him to intervene until we're lost and our lives are in shambles. When will we decide that doing it our way isn't working? When we hit rock bottom.
Dormancy occurs when you are in a situation where it seems everything you want is not coming to pass. Doors are not opening, people who have been part of your support system fall away, and you lose a job, a car, perhaps a house. These seasons are painful because you do not know what is happening and you feel like you are alone…but you’re not. This is the season God is using to create a root system, anchored upon Him, that will sustain you for generations to come.
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.