It’s one thing to suffer at the hands of those who are careless and reckless. It’s another thing to bear self-inflicted wounds. What do you do when you’re surrounded with people who are suffering or going through difficult times as a result of their own behaviors? How do you extend grace to them? Where does the gospel make sense when you are extending it to people who are abusing it?
There are so many things we don’t talk about in church; especially about the things that have to do with our own misbehavior. How does God deal with us when we are not just dumb, but downright defiant? What do the Scriptures teach us? Is there hope for people like us who know better, but don’t do better?
Yesterday we talked about God’s love and the difference between His faithful love and cheap grace. The fact that God does treat people differently, he doesn’t love us all the same; there is a difference between His covenant love and His offered love. Find out the difference and make application in your life, your family and the life of your church. Use it to stimulate conversation. Let me know if you think I am off base, or if you think I am right on target.
Ever wonder why you feel so frustrated that no matter how many resolutions you make, how much effort you exert, how many books you read or classes you attend, you seem to stay stuck all the time? Well, if you’ve ever felt that way, or if you feel that way right now, at the beginning of a new year, you’ve come to the right place. Because we’re going to be able to learn today, in John 15, why people fail, and why they stay frustrated.
This is the chapter about the vine, about how the life of God flows into ordinary, fractured, broken human beings; how God takes us where we are, and plants us into himself. He becomes the vine, we’re the branch, and He flows through us. The life that we live, as Paul said, is not the life that we live, it’s the life He lives through us, so that our fruitfulness and our continued success over time is guaranteed, as long as we don’t forget the vine/branch relationship.
And also, by the way, there’s a reason why so many people don’t like you, why there are people who lie to you, why there are people who betray you, why there are people who walk away just at the right time to cause you the maximum pain and frustration. It’s all in there. You’ll find it today in John 15: the vine and the branch theory.