October 15, 2008

Lifeline

"This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

"I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve."

Jeremiah 17:5-10

How many times do we blame circumstances or people for our lack of relationship with Christ? So many times it becomes so much easier to blame life or even someone else for our lack of commitment but we must remember that God can look past our outward appearances and can look straight into our minds and hearts to discover the truth of our condition. None of our good deeds will ever be able to cover up the sin filled hearts that we have because God examines our hearts and when deceit and sin block our lifeline to God, He judges and disciplines accordingly.

We can look at this passage and use it to determine our hearts condition. What does your relationship with Christ look like and what or whom are you using as an excuse for the lack there of at this moment? You must determine whether you are a bush or a tree. Imagine that you are walking along in the scorching heat, your mouth is dry and up ahead you see a small bush with dry brown leaves but then you look in the other direction and there you find a tall, green, lush tree close to a stream. In that moment, which direction will you head for refreshment? Clearly, it is not a hard choice to make. What is it that makes that tree so lush and green? It is something that we cannot see and something that is connected to the source of that trees life. That tree has sturdy roots that hold it planted in the ground and that grow toward that stream which brings it life and allows it to produce good fruit. That is so symbolic of what our life should look like as Christians. Our lives should be rooted in the truth of God's word filling us with His "living water" allowing us to bear "much fruit" and giving us "eternal life". Without it, as strife and pain come our way, we will fail because we cannot stand-alone.

In this world, we choose whether we will trust in ourselves and be like that bush or trust in God and be like that tree. We need to spend time examining what our relationship with Christ looks like. You cannot grow and remain in Christ if you are not already in Him or have not given your life to Him. You must confess your need for Him in your life and be honest about your bush-like traits. Christ longs to fill each of us with a joy that can only come from Him.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"

1 Peter 1:8

We must remember that we alone cannot produce good fruit because that can only be accomplished through a relationship with Christ. Without Him, we will wither and fade spiritually leaving us unfulfilled and lonely but if we stay close to Him, we will bear much fruit and experience His presence and joy in our life. (John 15:7-8)

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