But I am like a green olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)
On occasion I like to look at a verse revealed to me and follow the thread (those tiny, inside marginal notes) through my Bible until it leads right back to that verse again. My devotional this morning presented me with the verse above.
I do thrive when I spend time with God. There is nothing better than opening my heart and mind to the Spirit, allowing a mystery to be imparted from the Living Word. Sometimes, His hand, His love and grace travel deep into my core, and I feel Him surrounding me with His unfailing love. Which led me to the verses below.
The Lord once called you a green olive tree; beautiful with good fruit. (Jeremiah 11:16a)
And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But some of the olive branches have been broken off, and you, a wild olive branch, have been grafted in their place. You get your nourishment from the roots of the olive tree. So don’t brag about being better than the other branches. If you brag, remember that you don’t support the root, the root supports you. (Romans 11:17-18)
As I respond to other people – people unlike me, who have different ways of being, contrasting points of view, I must recall His commands to love. They are not many and are not optional, but vital to my life under His domain. Instead of letting anger or fear control my mind and heart, I humble myself to the Spirit’s control.
As I allow His Spirit to work in me and mature my faith, His strength uplifts me and enables me to embody His fruit when I alone cannot. He empowers me to love, to have patience, to be kind and generous, to be gentle and to have self-control.
I am the Vine and my Father is the Vinedresser. Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me. I am the Vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear sweet fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing. (John 15:2, 4-5)
What mysteries are revealed to me in the thread of these verses?
Do not adhere to ideologies; to not cling to law.
Do not hold fast to doctrine; do not grasp onto litmus tests.
Do not worship the word
Or let it become your god.
Instead, hold fast to Jesus; cling to the Father.
Worship God; give dignity to His name.
Gain nourishment from the roots of the Tree;
Obtain wisdom from the Vine.
Discern with clear eyes through truth and the Spirit.
Forgive, dispense grace and mercy; offer compassion and love.
Honor all life: the unborn; LGBTQ; Christian, Jew, Muslim; Democrat, Republican; man and woman; white collar, blue collar, no collar; those from every nation; faces of every color; for God loves the heart.
Whenever possible, be a peacemaker.
Stay humble, open to the Spirit’s teaching.
We are here at His behest, His creation, all beloved children of our Father.
Isn’t it time we treat each other that way?