See that hollow limb above? It was blown off its tree by strong winds the other day. My husband and I came across it on a hike through the woods.
On the outside it looks like a strong enough limb, but notice its hollow insides.
Made me think, “How are my insides?”
Am I strong enough to hang on in a storm?
It’s what’s inside that matters.
Read these verses from Matthew and answer for yourself what makes a person strong enough to resist the wind:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” ~ Matthew 7:24-25
Notice those highlighted phrases? It’s all about hearing and putting into practice — that’s the difference between strong or hollow faith. It takes faith to obey, and when we obey, our faith gets stronger. It’s a circle, like a tree ring!
Unfortunately, I tend to treat Jesus like a genie in a bottle, rubbing the lamp when I pray, saying, “Here’s my plan, now bless it.”
Where His pleasures cross my own, I choose my own pretty much every time. Obedience-schmedience!
Maybe because, sometimes, it hurts to obey…
Pastor Mark Brown, from Australia, put it this way on his blog:
“I want to follow my will, my desire, but this is plain wrong. I must submit myself to the will of Christ, and push through the pain.” ~ Journey Deeper into God’s Word
I like the way he put that — “push through the pain.”
And why in the world would I choose to push through the pain rather than enjoy immediate pleasure…
That’s what Jesus did. He chose joy:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:2
And that’s what Jesus taught. He taught his disciples to choose joy:
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ~ John 15:10-11
Stop! Drop! and Pray!
Father, I want the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay! So, help me to obey all that You say. Not just the commands that go my way. ( Anyone else notice this rhyming?)
You are THE way — The way to peace, the way to happiness, the way to JOY!
Please show me, Father, how I’ve been choosing my ways over Yours.
Here’s some ways that come to mind: (This is where you confess…)
Father, thank you for being faithful and just to forgive me when I confess my sins to You. ( 1 John 1:9)
And when your pleasures cross mine, help me to choose Yours every time.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Do you know the One who made the trees? Click the pic below to meet Him. Come on! Go out on a limb. 🙂
~~ Gloris Young