God is Life

The past few weeks we’ve been discussing the difference between thriving and striving. Are you thriving–allowing God to grow you? Or are you striving–trying in vain to grow yourself?

This week we want to focus on God as life. Life is kind of important for thriving, isn’t it?

Jesus explained this in John 15:5-8. The Message paraphrases this for us:

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is–when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”

Jesus says that anyone who separates from Him . . . who tries to strive on their own rather than thrive with HIM . . .  is “deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.”

Yet often, even as Jesus takes the deadwood in our lives and stokes the bonfire, something within makes us want to reach in and grab the dead branches back out. He has promised to cast our sin away from us “as far as the east from the west.”

Why can’t we let it be cast? Why can’t we let it burn?

Instead, we bring the deadwood back into our lives, put it in a plaster pot and dress it up with silk leaves. Yes, we create a striving tree from the deadwood that Jesus promises to burn up.

Striving keeps us from living an abundant and free life because we are tied to deadwood. We are separated from the life-giving vine and unable to produce a thing.

What are some things that we do to separate ourselves from God? (Romans 1:28-31 might give you some clues.)

What do we do with our time?
What do we do with our resources?
What do we do with our gifts and abilities?

BUT IF  you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you (THRIVE), you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.”

God is LIFE and because of His life in us we THRIVE —

“This is how my Father shows who he is –when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”

Mind if I pray?

Living God –You fill us with the breath of life. You give us living water. Your Word is living and active. So, why do we deny Your ability to cast away for good all that is dead in us? Forgive us. Free us. Fill us again with Your life so we can produce the kind of fruit that honors Your Name. Amen.

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