February 8, 2013
As I near the end of this 365 day journey, I realize that I have learned a lot about me. Some days you want to write a lot, and some days you just want to hit your computer with a brick and wish that you never started this commitment. But that is what this has been. God really laid it on my heart that we need encouragement in life…
Now don’t confuse that with feeling good. Encouragement is totally different. It is what keeps you going….because let’s face it, there are a lot of days when you just want to curl up in a cocoon. But we don’t have that option. Life goes on…and it is either meaningless or meaningful. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes….life without God is chasing the wind…which if you think about it…is a waste. But if you are following God’s lead, life is meaningful. That doesn’t mean that you get up every day and sing the hallelujah chorus…but that means that you tell God that you have no idea what His agenda is…but that you are available.
BUT….God doesn’t let you be stagnant…because He wants you bearing fruit with your life. And to bear fruit, you have to be pruned. I HAVE BEEN PRUNED THIS YEAR….and there are a lot of days that I was asking God if it would ever end. I had some junk in my life, and in my past that He wanted me to deal with….and here is why. If you don’t understand what repentance is…you can’t understand grace. And if you can’t understand grace….you can’t really realize the gift of redemption that God has given us. And if you don’t understand the gift of redemption…you don’t realize how worthy it is to follow God’s will for you life. You don’t “have to”…but you will want to. Here is how Peter puts it….
2 Peter 1:1-4-To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (NKJV)
Grace and Peace be multiplied to you…in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Get it? Grace and peace is multiplied as we understand more about God!! And Peter goes on…this is how God gets us ready….
2 Peter 1:5-7 –5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (NKJV)
I think I want to write a book someday…not that anybody would read it. But I want to talk about these passages….the crescendo. You see, these are the building blocks in your life in Christ. He wants you to first have faith, and then to your faith to be virtuous, and then grow in your knowledge, and then learn how to control yourself, and then learn to persevere, and then learn to be godly…and then be kind….that then add to that love. WOW….that is a lot of learning…but it is at that time that God can use you!!! And each of those steps requires some pruning…so that you will bear more and more fruit. And why? So that more seeds will get sown for the kingdom….and that more people will come to Christ! Get it?
And why do we “want” to do this? Because if these attributes are coursing through our veins….they we will remember that we are clean, and new creations….and ready to work for the kingdom!! Okay…back to Peter…he is much better than me.
2 Peter 1:8-9 – 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)
So be encouraged….pruning just makes you more fruitful. You are designed to bear fruit!!! NOT chase the wind. So let God in, and let the Holy Spirit push the world out of you. It may hurt for a little bit, but some of those branches have been growing for a while. AND…the rewards are eternal….and your life will have meaning!
Grace and Peace, Dan