I invite you to read Debbie’s post that will bless you tremendously.
Learning to walk with Jesus is a lifelong pursuit. After committing my life to Christ, I knew I needed to grow in my spiritual walk. I remember years ago thinking “now how do I live?” I knew I was saved by grace through faith. But the day to day living was a challenge for me.
How thankful I am that the Bible teaches us how to live in Christ. In John 17, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the time when He would soon depart from them.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of it.” John 17:15-16 NIV
This life can be very challenging. Sometimes I wonder why God doesn’t just take His own home now. But that wasn’t His plan. As a Christian, I have to remember that although I live in this world, this isn’t my real home. But while I’m here I am to reflect Jesus to others.
So how do I do this? On my own, I can’t. While on this side of heaven, I still have to deal with this flesh of mine. My flesh likes what it wants and when it wants it. There are times when I give in and do my own thing. But I have the Holy Spirit within me. As a child of God, I can choose to submit to His leading. When I do this, my choices will be consistent with His will.
John 15 is a wonderful chapter in the Bible that talks about my relationship with God through Jesus. There’s an analogy of the fruit and the vine. Jesus is the vine and God the Father is the gardener. Any gardener knows that pruning is a necessity. Cutting back branches allows for new growth. But pruning can be painful.
“He cuts off any branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2 NIV
I love how everything I need to grow in my spiritual walk is provided for me. My part is to cooperate and not operate in my flesh. I need to remain and cling to Jesus.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15: 5-8 NIV
The ‘ask whatever you wish’ isn’t a license to pray for whatever our hearts desire. If you walk with Jesus and submit to His prompting and read His Word, He changes the desires of your heart. I’ve experienced this personally.
In the past, I’ve enjoyed certain things that I no longer enjoy. My desires have changed as I’ve grown in my faith. I have to laugh as I think back to when I was reunited with a high school friend after many years. We used to love to party and have a good time. But she was also now a Christian. We were driving together in my car listening to the radio. We glanced at one another and laughed. Little did we know years ago that we would be singing Christian music and lyrics and actually enjoy it.
He changes our heart’s desires as we remain in Him. Oh how I love that!
So, may I get personal? Are you remaining in the Vine? Or are you living in your flesh? Will you choose to cling to the Vine? Will you listen to His Word and obey it?
Our day to day, moment by moment choices determine how we walk with Jesus. I encourage you to make the choice to cling to the Vine.
Debbie Petras is originally from Long Island, New York but she and her husband Greg now live in Arizona. She worked as a cardiovascular nurse for many years but currently works with preschool children. Debbie was greatly influenced by her Christian grandparents but spent many years living a life that didn’t reflect her belief in Jesus. At her grandmother’s funeral, Debbie felt the Lord speaking softly to her heart. She returned to church and began reading her Bible. Life began to change as her love for Jesus grew and began to spill over to others. Matthew 5:16 became one of her favorite Scriptures “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” She enjoys sharing her faith and writing on her blog Heart Choices as she inspires and encourages others.