This week, we continue our look at relationships and surviving conflict. Last week we took our inspiration from gardening and I hope you have your gardening gloves available again this week. Let’s see what Jesus says about relationship gardening:
Read John 15 v 1 – 17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
In these words of Jesus, Jesus links gardening with building relationships that are founded in love. Our relationships will flourish when we remain in Him. The best characteristics for a successful relationship are found in the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In relationships we often want the other person to change – if only they would respect me, if only they would show me their love. But maybe if we focus on changing ourselves we will be a catalyst to the change in others.
The Power to Change
It doesn’t matter how you got saved, whether you wept, fell over or whatever. Regardless of the time, place or circumstances, as soon as you gave your life to Jesus you received the “power to become”
“…..to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1 v 12 – 13)
God’s power within you means that you have the power to self-assemble yourself from within. God is saying all you need to do is get into the flow of the Holy Spirit’s power that is inside you – the power to become everything you dreamed of, or wanted to become.
Not only did God put within you the power to become when you were saved, he also gave you the desire to want to become. James 4 v 5 in the Amplified Bible says:-
“The spirit whom he has caused to dwell in us yearns over us…..with a jealous love”
And King David put it this way in Psalm 42 v 1
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul (inner self) pants for you, O God”
So this week lets continue our gardening and pull up the weeds, cut off the dead branches and put in nutrients and allow God the Gardener to prune us as we remain in Him and become all that He wants us to be in our relationships.
Tomorrow we will be digging out our first weed of the week and putting in our first nutrients.