Rivers of Living Water, Life from the Vine.
I have never met this gentleman, but I identify with what he writes, in such a way that I have no trouble identifying him as “friend”,my blogger friend! There's something else; he's my brother in Christ .
He's just finished publishing a series of four articles which, IMHO, is a must read for anyone who claims to be Christian. He reveals much about what edification really means, when the teacher is the Holy Spirit, rather than a curriculum.
Paul Burleson is a similar vintage to me. He's what, I think, the Bible speaks of when it mentions elders, mature. Check the series, beginning here:
Have you ever listened to preachers, read books, which have induced feelings of guilt, and caused you to strive, and suffer emotional anguish, and stretch every fibre of your being, yearning for all that the Lord would have for you?
I have known brethren who have become so fatigued in this spiritual quest, that they simply had no choice but to give up, abandoning the stuff that had led them to the brink of breakdown.
It seems that very few, who claim to be Christian, find the truth of what Jesus was meaning, when He said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.
Many of those who experience this truth, find themselves having to “leave church” to protect their faith!
This brings Paul's series to mind, which continues reminding me of the encounter of Jesus and the woman at the well:
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
The woman was fretting and straining because she didn't have the where-with-all to get the "living water" Jesus spoke about. Like so many who "know Christ" as an historical figure, they don't KNOW Him in a living relationship!
What He is saying is, "If you had a true relationship with me Me everything else will fall into place; it's about your relationship with Me, the water I'm speaking of will come without any of your stress, strain, struggle and anguish. Your thirst will be assuaged by Me, in Me, apart from your effort, and you won't need a bucket to give it to others..
In the last article of his series, Paul begins by referring to the fruit bearing of Galatians 5.
The Holy Spirit in us, Jesus, produces this fruit. He produces the bud, then the flowers, and finally the fruit, through you and I, by way of union and fellowship with Him. Just like the vine and the fruit bearing branches. Relationship!.
Relation ship with Him is fellowship with, and in Him. As He said in John 15:4, Abide (dwell) in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides (dwells) in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide (dwell) in me. Abide (dwell) in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides (dwells)in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide (dwell) in me”.
Imagine if the daily activity of the branches of the vine was fretting and straining, suffering anguish in order to bear fruit. Well! Imagine is all you can do, because it simply does not happen.
The branches rest there, dwelling in the vine, drawing sustenance from the vine.
Bearing fruit is the result of BEING in the vine, branches drawing life from the source, and as Paul suggests,
“In order to be to others what He is being to me, it is essential that I not ignore the boundaries that are necessary for other relationships to be, in fact, healthy and mutually satisfying, rather than unhealthy and controlling. ”. .
That's what I see Paul speaking of in his last two points. The emphases are mine:
Five--A significant factor in building any healthy relationship is that it is to reflect what we are "being" in that relationship and not what we are "doing" in it. Relationships that are healthy depend on how we function in grace and truth not on how we perform in roles.
Six---The overriding purpose in my having other relationships, whether marriage or church or friend, is so I can mirror what He and I have together relationally. In order to be to others what He is being to me, it is essential that I not ignore the boundaries that are necessary for other relationships to be, in fact, healthy and mutually satisfying, rather than unhealthy and controlling.