“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“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, 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.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Fill in this blank honestly and prayerfully: My life today is rooted in ____________.
I spent many years filling in this blank with all the wrong answers. I sought something…anything…that I thought would satisfy me and give me inner peace! Sadly, I rooted myself in places and people and things that bore no fruit. 1 Chronicles 26 says, “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” I set up idols. Rebellious in my nature, I was very busy building up my little kingdom on earth. I erected little altars everywhere and seldom did I make any effort to be obedient to God’s will for my life. I went through the motions, but I was not rooted in Him. Instead, I tried to root my life in…
People. I worshiped my family, my friends, my husband (Brian is a gift from God, but he is most assuredly not God!) and of course, my children. Humans, as Genesis tells us, are made in the image of God, yet they do not possess His nature and as a result, they are continuously letting us down. People betray us, disappoint us, and leave us. My parents are in heaven, my children have left the nest, good friends live too far away to spend time with on a regular basis. I can’t root my life in my relationships with family or friends. God made us people who crave relationship with one another, but I can’t remain in those relationships like I can remain in my relationship with Jesus Christ! Can you relate?
Home. For me, it was our home on Oakwood Drive in Saint John, Indiana. I adored the sturdy front porch and the backyard full of majestic oak trees. This was the home where my sons matured from little boys to men. I call it my “heart house” and when we had to move to Florida because Brian was transferred I fell into a deep depression. Honestly, I still mourn the loss of that house…or maybe it’s the loss of that precious time of life when we were busy raising our three sons? That home holds bittersweet memories I can’t possibly live inside of anymore. I can’t be like the Dickens’ character Miss Havisham walking a dilapidated mansion in a moldy wedding dress, forever frozen in her memories. Love the novel, but hate thinking I could in some way live that story.
Job. The hours I have spent preparing to teach, worrying about children that couldn’t learn or wouldn’t learn, wanting to adopt those that I thought weren’t being raised with boundaries and love…grading papers, creating projects, grading more papers. I love children and I love teaching, but honestly, at the end of the day, it often feels so pointless. The children move on to middle school and I miss them, but I’m still not sure if I’m making a difference. Have you done that too? Have you worked at a job with your whole heart and still felt that hole…that something was missing?
You surely see the pattern! Why did it take me so long to see it? I’ve realized God created this cyclical pattern in my life to draw me ever closer to Him. I can trust that God was pruning me lovingly and working everything together out of His love for me. Meanwhile, there I was setting up all these little altars in my life. Puny and unsatisfying as they were, I saw each of them as potentially more fulfilling than a relationship with the living God…the omnipotent, omniscient, creator of everything! As a changed life I’m fully qualified to say this: Build your life on the rock of salvation. Build your life on Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus will redeem and restore the world. He will make all things new. As a result of a healing study I learned that I am forgiven and set free. I finally understood who God is and what he requires of me. Now I seek to build my home in heaven. I look to God for help and guidance. I seek to obey His will and to please Him through my service. How I look forward to spending eternity with Him! Herein lies my hope…in Jesus…not in the worthless idols of my own creation. Revelation 21:3-5…
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
As you’ve read my story I pray you’ve reflected on your own life. Is there something you idolizing? Have you somehow twisted one of the good gifts that God has given you into a god in and of itself? Good things are not good if they become idols. Is God’s character and plan for your life something you are fully surrendered to? If not, let’s take a step towards that today.
Lord, you are the almighty, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I know you have given us many good gifts…friends, family, animals, homes, work and so much more…but when we idolize these good gifts instead of the one who created them we get all bound up in the chaos of our emotions and we get broken. Jesus, you are the only answer to our emotional stress and mess. It is only you that can save us from ourselves and all the idols we worship. Jesus, it is my deepest desire to remain in you. Only in you can I live and breathe and find the deep abiding peace that will sustain me through the storms of life. (Acts 17:28) Lord, I live to obey your will. Only you are Lord of my life. Forgive me for trying to substitute idols for a relationship with you. You are all I need! Nothing, but nothing will satisfy my deep need for love except a relationship with you. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit. Amen.
Who is God? Louis Giglio on Rightnow Media A Rightnow Media account is free through Real Life Christian Church. You can access the link through the Real Life website here Rightnow Media to learn more and explore this wonderful resource.
Today’s post was written by Cindy Koopmans.
Cindy is married to her college sweetheart, Brian, for 38 years. She has three grown boys, two sweet daughters-in-law and a gorgeous little grand-man named Oliver Brian. Cindy teaches fifth grade at Sorrento Elementary and serves at the Mount Dora campus as their Worship Coordinator. Cindy’s passion is music, so her happy place is at the keyboard. She also enjoys reading (so many books, so little time), thrifting, and hanging out with Kramer the wonder Bichon. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Mount Dora campus.