We should believe the best, and expect the best, from each other. We are part of the same team; members of the Body of Christ. We are the branches and Christ is the vine. We do not cut any branch down. We do not pick at other branches, but we pick from them. Everyone is a valuable part of the vine and we increase in value to one another.
To deprecate ourselves or others assaults the grace of God. In our process of being transformed into the image of Christ, things that have been deeply rooted in our mind, will or emotions are being pulled up by the roots. In those times we may sense emptiness, a “hanging” in a new place without feeling securely planted. We may perceive that the other branches have disconnected from us making us feel uneasy. Loneliness and a feeling of “not belonging” may try to hinder us. It’s important to recognize the changes we will go through as we learn to walk in our divine identity.
To hang in there means not to give up or give in to fear. We can hang in there when we are a branch abiding in Christ. We receive His very life and are able to trust the outcome as we bear His fruit. We can praise God for the pruning process. He lifts us up so that we may bear more fruit. He does so by pulling up by the roots, everything that has no place in our new life in Christ, from glory to glory!
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
As members of the Body of Christ, we are the light of the world. The light exposes darkness and darkness has to flee. Our adversary attempts to hide our light under “bushels,” but the Lord increases His glory, reveals the light and removes the darkness. Understanding the battle that is going on helps us deal with the opposition we face, and the conflict we are to conquer.
We carry the light of Jesus and the people around us react in many different ways. Some may appear to be offended, and their behavior may be difficult to comprehend. We question, “Did I do something to them? Are they mad at me? What is going on?” We’ll discover the answer to these questions, and many more, is nothing. It’s the light in us that is troubling the darkness.
As the light of the Lord shines brighter in and through us, bushels can no longer keep the light hidden. The bushels can be other’s reactions such as: unbelief, critical attitudes, negative behaviors, envy or offenses. The answer to all questions is Jesus. When a conflict arises, we let our light so shine that our Father in heaven will be glorified, from glory to glory!
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
It was their works of faith, labors of love, and patience of hope in the Lord that exhorted worshipers in the Thessalonian Church. They really believed and served God. It is through these same characteristics that our maturity in Christ is known to others.
Faith without works is dead, but works of faith are alive and obvious; we know this because of the opposition we encounter. True faith is obvious because of the amazing ability it brings to press through trials. Faith sees, says and seizes the promises of God. Our labor of love is not in vain in the Lord. The love of God in our hearts becomes increasingly real as we grow in the knowledge of who God is, and as He reveals its magnitude. We love one another, heart to heart, in all circumstances. It’s a labor of love because it takes the work of faith to walk in such love. Our patience of hope also makes known the reality of the Lord in our lives. How else could we stand believing in life in the midst of death?
When pressures come, what we really believe can be heard and seen. Faith now is where fear used to come forth. Love is given where offenses tried to establish their lying ways. Forgiveness is granted where resentment used to hold back the blessings. Patience has replaced anger. The works of the Spirit are seen instead of the works of the flesh, really, from glory to glory!
1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.