“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5, ESV)

Those who abide in the vine have a rock solid faith. Their faith is demonstrated through loving God and loving others. They get their spiritual nourishment from the Son of God himself. They can say of Jesus what the apostle Thomas said, “my Lord and my God.” Discipleship is simply following and obeying Jesus. The disciple is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and desires to be holy like God. Seeking to follow Jesus in our own power produces bad fruit, like, frustration, guilt, shame, and legalism.

Without the abiding presence of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) we can do nothing.  While salvation is a free gift, the life of overcoming power promised by Jesus, is only given to those who are intentional in their obedience. Abiding and obeying go hand and hand. A deep sense of joy is available to those who obey God. (John 15:11) Jesus did not only come to take us to heaven when we die, but to give us fullness of joy now, even as we experience tribulation in this world. The Father prunes those who belong to him. So that we can stay spiritual healthy and connected to Jesus who is the life giving Vine.

The Weaned Soul

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.” – Psalms 131:1-2

I really believe many Christians (including myself) suffer from, Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. We have untamed souls (mind, will, and emotions) and have not been weaned from the cares and distractions of this world. Waiting upon the Lord is a lost art to many in our generation. The practices of silence and solitude have almost become extinct in our culture. It  takes God’s power to wean our souls from the anxiety caused by a steady stream of information and images we internalize everyday. Spiritual growth cannot be achieved through busyness or religious activities. Some religious activity can actually become a substitute for God.

The weaned soul is a God saturated soul. A soul that has been weaned from excessive preoccupation with the cares of this world. The worldly or unregenerate mind is not focused on spiritual reality. This weaned soul is not easily distracted by things of lesser importance. It is unselfish and has learned the secret of contentment.

What we need most, is time alone with God while not neglecting active involvement with other believers. It’s important to find a quiet place with a Bible, pen, and journal in hand.  Try meditating on Scripture and while praying over passages, write down your thoughts. Having a soul that has been weaned from the anxiety filled information age is a process. We must be intentional about, “One Thing” and that’s seeking the face of the Lord, which is his presence.

 

 

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