Last night at a Leadership meeting at Church, our Pastor shared about the extremes we can unwisely experience in our thoughts and beliefs due to singling Scripture verses out of context.
One example was given about the passage,"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
The Apostle Paul was referring to the conditions of living in lack, or living in abundance, and just plain being able to live, at peace, in a state of grace- no matter what. He did Not mean "I can bench press 1000 pounds - because I know Christ" or "I can become a famous opera star even though I sing like a chicken with its head cut off". (Everyone is glad I do understand this verse in context. I sing like...well, the example I just gave- but I know that I do. And I'm not expecting much to change here!)
Paul understood the undergirding, strengthening presence of God to take him through times of plenty and times of "tightness", times when the world sits at your feet to listen, and times when "all of Asia" has left you. He could "make it" because of God's grace and His power at work in his life. Yes, he could "do" that. And so can you.
But without Christ- well, that's a different matter. Without His amazing life -giving power at work in your mortal body, you can do "nothing". Now, be careful here. It may not seem like you're doing nothing. It may seem like you're doing an awful lot, panting and sweating in exertion, at the same time. But in reality, anything not touched by the hand of God, by the approval of God, amounts to nothing. I've seen this in my life.
"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. 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." John15:4,5
Last couple of days, I've come to a place of peace and understanding. I'm experiencing a quiet rest in Him that may seem unproductive. But I believe that rest can be a powerful form of abiding in Christ. Instead of striving and trying so hard to be productive, I'm just "waiting" and "worshipping" Him- glad to be small in His powerful hand.
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop" said Ovid, the Roman poet. This is especially true of those whose resting period is not done kicking or screaming. (I think many of us have an aversion to resting periods because of the nap times imposed on us when we were young!).
I'm just cooperating with the plan of God, right now. "Quiet time," He whispers to my spirit. I have decided to simply agree; to just abide in His timing, His strategy, His plan for me. I'm abiding in the Vine, that's what I'm doing. And the part where you see all that fruit...that will come.
In due season.