Day 19: Sanctifying Love
Read: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, John 15
House plants make me so happy. I love the idea of my home being filled with life and freshness. I always desired my home to be filled with greenery, making everyone who came inside feel refreshed. However, house plants don’t always love me back. I don’t have the greatest green thumb. I don’t straight-out kill my plants, but they don’t always thrive. Plants are very tempermental—each one is so different and each has special needs. Some need a lot of water and lots of sun, while some just need a weekly couple drops and lots of alone time. It doesn’t take much to send a plant from thriving, to barely scraping by. Unlike my plant-parent skills, God provides abundant life for those who abide in Him. He has a green thumb for souls, knowing exactly what we need, down to the precise measurement.
John 15 compares our relationship with the Lord to a living vine and a vinedresser, or gardener. Imagine one of those big California vineyards with rows of grape vines. Zoom in to one of these grape vines and notice how it’s made. It’s like a little tree, with a main “trunk” with loads of tangling branches climbing in every direction. Jesus is the main part of the vine, we are the branches, and God the Father is the vinedresser who tends to the vineyard. He cares for our needs by feeding us the sustenance needed to live—the same way the main vine, rooted in the rich soil, feeds the branches. We grow more everyday that we abide in Him, and as we grow in the life that He gives us we “bear fruit” (v. 2). What exactly is this fruit?
2 Corinthians 3:17–18 comes at the end of a chapter talking about the New Covenant of the Holy Spirit, who gives life (v. 6). When it comes to bearing fruit, there’s a dangerous dichotomy in most people’s thinking that tells them they either have to make it happen or just quit altogether. We often ignore the in between space. In my own life, I see fruit come in and through my life when I listen to the little promptings of the Holy Spirit, and then obey. I don’t wait for Him to force me to obey, I willfully comply with His guidance because I love Him. Fruit takes many forms, but in every case it is God’s will being done in our lives, just like in Jesus’ life. Bearing fruit is something we cannot do on our own, and it’s something the Holy Spirit will not do for us. There has to be cooperation.
A good rule to keep in mind when listening for the Spirit’s prompting is to know that He will never instruct us to do something Christ wouldn’t teach to His disciples, for His words come from Christ, as verse 18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” When we follow Jesus and hold fast to His Spirit’s leading, we receive life.
Buy a house plant, find a tree out your window, draw a tree or plant, look for something full of life. Something you see often. Every time you look at whatever that may be, pray to God asking Him to fill you with life. Ask Him to tend to you, to grow you and to sanctify you.
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