Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cookies, Chips and God's Power

My wife loves to make chocolate chip cookies; I love to eat them—it’s no surprise. But more often than not, I find myself sifting through the batch to find the one that is softest and has the most chocolate chips in it. Depending on how they were cut out and how much time they were cooked makes a difference in the experience of eating the little treat. The longer cooked the harder the cookie and some simply have more chips. As I was pondering this it dawned on me that like the cookie, our life can also be a treat that becomes a blessing both to God and to others.

Jesus spoke of Himself as the “Vine” and His church as “Branches of the Vine”. He likened Christians to branches that either bore no fruit (no chocolate chips), some fruit (some chocolate chips), or a lot of fruit (delicious and tasty). But conditions, by proxy, determine which type of branch we are. Here is what He said:

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, and I will 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 a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing, John 15:1-5.

Jesus is speaking of our life in Him; that is, our personal one on one relationship with Him. This can also apply to church since altogether we make up a congregation that is in Christ, the Vine. He states, that there is a pruning process in our spiritual lives that exists. We rarely think about this and it is no surprise. We like to live and walk as we desire if we can—we like our independence. However the Christian is never independent of God. Jesus wanted us to make sure we realized this; thus this story. So in our dependent walk there are stages of dependency. As I said earlier we may be a barren cookie with no chips, a weak cookie with a few chips, or a cookie full of delicious chips. The type we are is dependent upon the vine which supports us and our dependency upon it.

Another principle is the vine is constantly at work. Using Jesus’ terminology, He is constantly working to make us into the branch springing from Him that will produce truckloads of fruit. So the ability to be well-pleasing, strong, and a delight to Him and those around us always exists but our part in the process is also of great importance. We must realize that we have to constantly abide in Him to gain what is necessary to produce. So the choice becomes ours.

Our choices in life determine whether Jesus allows the fruit to grow to abundance. If we are not walking in full dependence upon Him there will be no fruit, He will cut the branch off. If we are beginning to be more dependent and some fruit is appearing He will prune us so we can be more fruitful. If we are fully walking in Him, taking His words to heart and being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s nudging within us, then we will be very fruitful and see the mighty power of God working in mighty ways through us.

That is the simple principle Jesus wanted us to know. Now, that being said, let’s be truthful, do you really want to see Jesus working in mighty ways in and through you? Be honest. If you do you will re-read what Jesus said, and you will begin to take to heart this unchanging principle. Again be honest, answer the question. Do you really want to see the power of God in your life? If so, abide in Him as He asks.