Tuesday, August 13

Connected and close

Scripture: Jeremiah 13-15, John 15

Jeremiah 13:11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.  

John 15:4-5 Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Observation

Jeremiah and Jesus each use a vivid metaphor to represent our relationship with God.

Jeremiah was told to buy a linen waistband (belt) and wear it; after awhile, God told him to bury it, then some time later, to dig it up.  It was ruined, rotted, worthless.  It was an object lesson.  God made Israel to cling to Him, be bound to Him for His glory and fame and honor.  But when they abandoned that relationship, they became ruined and useless.  

Jesus used a different metaphor but to the same effect.  He is the vine, we are the branches; if we abide in Him, we bear much fruit, but if we abandon that relationship, we dry up and become useless and fruitless.  

Application

Both metaphors depict a close relationship: clinging like a belt around the waist, bound to one another, attached like a branch to a tree.  We were made for this kind of close, connected relationship with God.  When we abide in that relationship, when we stay in that relationship, we bear much fruit and bring glory to God.  When we don’t, we wither, dry out, rot and become fruitless and useless.  What a contrast!

“Abide in me,” Jesus says.  Stay close, stay connected, stay attached—and you’ll bear much fruit and God will be glorified (v. 8).  That’s what I want.  

How can I abide in Jesus, stay close and connected?  My spiritual practices are an important part of that: my quiet time (PBJ), prayer, worship, reading, reflecting, silence, sharing the gospel, church and mission group.  I want to work on being more attentive, more present in each moment (I am often looking forward rather than being present in the moment).  I’m going to come up with a simple practice to help me with that.  

Prayer: Lord, help me be a waistband that clings to You, a branch that abides in You.  Help me stay connected and close and be useful and fruitful.