Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Growing in Christ

Growing in Christ 
by David Brenneman 

‭“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:1-11.

It's interesting that this passage came to me when I was considering what I read last night from Dr. Charles Stanley in Life Principle #7 "The Dark Moments of our life will last only as long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us."

"But why?" you might ask. "Why the painful times in life?"  

Ever see a wonderfully kept flower garden? Ever wonder what work goes into such a beautiful place? Pruning. Trimming. Weeding. Fertilizing. Watering. Tending. 

In all...not all of what's necessary and needed in order to bring about such a wonderful a pleasant experience for the plants in question. 

There's the stress of removing weeds that try to entangle the plants. There's the intentional disturbing of the ground to add nutrients. There's the use of tools to cut out what isn't bearing fruits that are good.  

We who are in Christ are going to have a rough road at times. Really considering the path from childhood to's a painful process. It's fraught with many dangers and snares. Peer pressure. Should you turn left instead of to the right. Should you move on or stay put. Are you listening when you should or did you miss something important. 

We are also placed in the body of Christ as the Spirit directs, as He sees fit. We don't choose the ground in which He's set us to grow in. He knows what we need in order to bring about our sanctification. 

Regardless of world opinion, you're not here to strictly flourish and have a paradise for your own personal enjoyment. Quite the contrary, Jesus said that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus are going to suffer. It's a part of growing in Christ.  

Dr. Stanley was teaching that there's a purpose for what we are going through when adversity comes. God's not playing games with our lives. The Spirit has but one let the light of Jesus Christ shine in our lives in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. This is the will of God for you, your sanctification. 
Our lives are not our own, we were bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Our lives in Christ are spiritually discerned. Read that again. Spiritually discerned. Those in this world apart from Christ cannot understand the things of God because of why? They are spiritually discerned. They are foreign to them. They can't "get it".

While adversity is guaranteed, so is the work of the Spirit of God in you. 

In the passage that Dr. Stanley pointed to in LP#7, 1 Samuel reads that while the people where not looking favorably on David, he strengthened himself in the Lord his God. God, on His part, didn't let David down for doing this. 

The Spirit has His reasons for the unpleasant moments of life for each of us. We may know the reason, we may not. The onus is on us to obey regardless.  

‭"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
‭"but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
So our times of pruning are for our own good. There will be, as it's written in Ecclesiastes, a time to take up, a time to put down. 

Going out into your day, remember that Jesus is always already there. 

He is so prepared for what awaits you...even though your eyes, ears, and heart will say otherwise. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.  

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