The devotion last week may have struck a strong chord in you of agreement or agitation. It was definitely not my intent to upset anyone, but bring food for thought so that we may “come now and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). I agree the Bible contains verses of God’s plans to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11) and of Him giving you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). The problem is when people measure righteousness by worldly possessions and prosperity or even worse make it the focus of Christianity and look down in pity on those who don’t measure up. Yes, God may prosper you and then again He may not, He is God. I am certain though that He calls us to see the worth in every individual no matter what their worldly status.
We must remember the main blessings of being a Christian are spiritual blessings like forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), peace with God (Romans 5:1), an inheritance (1 Peter 1:3), access to God (Hebrews 4:16), a helper, teacher and reminder through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and a new covenant of grace through the blood of Jesus (Luke 22) to which material things have no comparison. I’m afraid we overlook some of the most Godly people, because they don’t stand out in this culture of materialism.
Back to cutting and pruning . . . Do you feel like you are running into a brick wall with this cutting and pruning stuff? Are you distracted and deterred? I will admit this past month has been one of great expectations with little real progress. The forces of darkness and my own flesh cry out NO! They are comfortable with the old and take pleasure in their rebellion. They don’t want new life to spring forth that will produce fruit.
If that sounds familiar, you might want to join me this week in writing down the major priorities, affections and labors in your life. Then spend time in prayer before the Gardener and taking an honest evaluation of the true worth of those items. How? Based on eternity. Do you see the Lord looking upon that branch in your life and saying in the end, “well done my good and faithful servant” if not it probably needs to be cut. Maybe this exercise will help move us in the right direction. It is my prayer we will persevere and not grow weary.Paul LaBathe