There is beauty in a surrendered heart. There is peace when you lay down your burdens and Jesus gives you his yoke. There is joy to be found in letting go of your own agenda and taking up your cross. And there is incredible love waiting for you.
Once you are filled to overflowing with this love, it naturally spills out and multiplies its effects in your life. People who once annoyed you, might still irritate you a little, but you will feel an unnatural tenderness towards them.
In reading about the vine and the branches, I am reminded that "apart from (Jesus) you can do nothing." In remaining in him, and his words remaining in us, we can bear much fruit. In another passage of Scripture, Jesus states "by your fruits you will know them." I want to be like a fresh water spring, like a vine loaded down with luscious fruit.
Too often the fruit in my life does not reflect the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. I end up with the rotten fruit of malice, envy, strife, anger, and words that wound rather than heal.
How can we remain in Christ? He gives us such a simple command to love another and he promises he will give us whatever he asks in his name. Why do we turn from love? I think part of the reason for myself is that at a times I don't feel loved or accepted. Jesus does love me and accept me, but instead of accepting his love, I turn to other things to validate me or I convince myself I must earn his love and favour. Then I run out of love and patience for other people.
The good news of the gospel is that everything we need is already paid for. It is a finished transaction! We have eternal life, we have everything we need for life and godliness, we have the ability to abide in Christ's love. We even have the desire to change gift wrapped for us and the strength to do so just waiting for us to open. I think I need to take these presents out of their pretty wrappings and put them to use!