Thank you for the responses from last week's blog. It's so encouraging to hear from you. It sounds like so many of you are truly abiding in the Vine.
There's nothing like a little dose of illness in our physical bodies to remind us of how fragile we really are. Call me a baby, but almost every single time I get the flu, I wonder inside, "Am I going to make it, Lord?" Well, this past week, I, along with my three children, were stricken with a good old-fashioned case of the flu. The vile bug caused havok on all of us, and my prayers seemed to hit the ceiling, at least for several days anyway. As the fog clears, I am so very thankful for my health and for the health of my children--and yes, the not so gentle reminder that I should be ever so grateful for it each day.
I'm digressing a bit, but I think of all the people in the world suffering in their physical bodies, who can only pray that they'd only have something like the flu to tussle with--they're afflictions sometimes painfully cruel and often terminal. I pray that the Lord will supernaturally touch all those who desperately need the Lord's healing and deliverance.
Anyway, the fragility of our bodies should be a constant reminder to us that we will all physically experience death (unless the Lord returns). In a way, this physical death parallels our spiritual lives. Our flesh must die if we are to glorify the Lord and access eternal life.
In John 12:24, Jesus explains the necessity of his impending death. He says, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." So, unless a grain of wheat is buried, it cannot produce grain. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and to exemplify His power over death. Isn't it incredible that through His death, we all have access to eternal life--just like that one seed produces many grains.
Similarly, when we let go of our selfish desires and self-centered ways (our flesh) and glorify God, we are released from the bondage of sin and death--they have no hold on us. We are free to worship, glorify, and serve the Lord with all of our beings, which is by the way, the reason we are here. Moreover, when we die to self and serve the Lord, we will draw others to Him, producing "much fruit."
We live fruitless lives when we live for ourselves only. All around we can see others consumed with attaining power, finding security, seeking pleasure, and making material wealth. Just like that corn of wheat that falls on the ground, abides alone
and dies, we will have a barren and desolate life without complete and utter reliance on the vine.
So, as awful as sickness is, it can be a reminder to us that we are not in control of our own lives. It doesn't matter how we can sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking that we "call the shots." Whether we're as strong as an ox or faced with the heavy weight of suffering a physical illness, our trust and reliance must be in Him.
So, how about out you? Have you died to self lately? Drop me a line. . .