Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cutting & Pruning: 10) Driven

The Lord has seen fit to add nine Ascribing Artists in the past two weeks! May we all rejoice in His grace and be encouraged by one another. Now, whereas the Lord is Faithful, I am not so much and apologize for not being able to send out a devotion during the past several weeks. My inability to do so is evidence of the fact that I still need cutting and pruning! From the email responses I have received the devotions are deeming to be fruitful, because the Spirit has taught us and made them effective. I am thankful for all you who have replied with comments.

Now, we left off seeing Jesus leave the masses to cross the sea and visit the one. A demon-possessed man who became the first Gentile missionary in a place where pigs can’t fly or swim. A place where Jesus is quickly rejected and begged to leave. So, what drove Jesus to go so far out of his way only to leave? We established two reasons, one it was the will of the Father and two Jesus told this man to “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19b, preparing the area for the future spread of the gospel. We also see in the Gospels, Jesus proving He was God’s Son through miracles that showed his total authority over creation, the spirit realm and physical flesh. So, the reasons behind the trip and healing this one man are multi-faceted.

As I look back in John chapter 15, where we have been learning about cutting and pruning, I find another primary reason for this one man mission. In verse 16, we had just discovered that our “fruit should abide” and on either side of this verse are two punctuating verses. John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” and John 15:17, “These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” Jesus was driven to that particular man, yes because of the reasons mentioned above, but also out of his great love and compassion for this tormented individual. When gauging the activities of our lives, love is a good measuring stick. Abiding fruit is best ripened when watered with love. So the question becomes, are these activities that occupy our lives driven out of a love for self or a love for others? Ouch . . . I like all this talk about love as long as self has a large part. I will be the first to admit that if we really desire to walk the talk then this will become a daily battle, because self is so evasive and sometimes difficult to discover as a motive and even more difficult to suppress. We must be diligent all the while praying for forgiveness, grace and a Spirit-filled walk.

Our lives will produce abiding fruit when our activities:

1) have eternal significance

2) are directed by the will of the father and not the masses

3) are driven by our love for one another

Passion week is coming . . .

Paul LaBathe

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