Tender Shoots

I told myself that it was time to give out… to stop fattening myself up.

I told myself that all the words I had consumed was beginning to crowd out everything else… that I had to expand my borders.

I told God I wasn’t going to rely on feelings – just push myself to do the most selfless thing.

I told Him I would do it out of love for Him. Said that it would be enough.

But here I am: I am hungry, thirsty. Those feelings have driven me crazy. My love, without food and water, without firm soil, without a strong connection to its root, is not enough.

I said I was fine.

I said I had worked it all out.

I said I had all the answers I needed.

On and on.

On and on.

My voice continued to echo in the chamber; a babbling Babel, towering with its own importance and “rightness”.

It was all so well-structured, so beautifully decorated. But every brick, put on the scales, was as empty as air. Yet its shadow darkened still my path like a storm cloud.

Then it all became clear.

“You still need His grace,” I chided myself, “and true grace does not cause you to be puffed up. You still need to read and hear those words everyday, but let them transform you so that others will see the difference in you.”

“Your feelings are always going to be there,” I was reminded, “but set Me apart as Lord. Your love for Me has power only on the basis that I first loved you. Remember My love shown on the Cross. Stay connected to the Vine.”

“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.” John 15: 1-17

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