Chapter 1: Day 6 – Growing into Love

Day 6 of Chapter 1 for Arise & Shine. A devotional and poem written by Anna Smit.

Recently, as I found my eyes resting on a compliment given to someone else, rather than pressing down the jealousy I felt, I brought it before the LORD in prayer. I asked Him to bring me a Word to cleanse me of my sin. He gave me John 15:2: “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

I then went to read up on the process of pruning. What caught my attention was the branches that were cut at the base of a tree: the so-called “suckers” that if left to grow would suck out necessary nutrients and weaken the wood. These “suckers” needed to be cut back to the base, not once but three times to form a healthy callus. 

I thought about how words of affirmation are one of my main love languages and how if left to my own devices, I would define my worth based on the words of man. So, every time someone is favored above me in words of affirmation is in fact God’s gift to me. It’s His Way of cutting off those sucker branches and strengthening the base of the tree. It’s His Way of ensuring the nutrients aren’t spent on branches that would suck the life out of me.

Each time that sin of jealousy rises, is God’s invitation to come to Him that He may direct my heart to draw its worth from Him alone. It’s His invitation to let Him grow a strong base in me, that when it’s time for me to branch out, I will no longer be seeking the praise of man, because every branch cut from me, will have rooted me even more strongly in His love – in His Word to me, as I have allowed Him to be the One to affirm and love on me.

So, it’s not about me “making myself stop being jealous” or about pushing away those thoughts that rise. It’s about placing that branch in the hands of Jesus, my Good Gardener, and allowing Him to take it away – the branch feeding on human affirmation that is bearing no fruit – that I may grow stronger in Him: my base, my stronghold, my life and breath.

And the Word I then found Jesus giving me to root myself in, rather than the word of man was: 

Colossians 3:14 ESV And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Perfect here means according to HELPS Word study:

Cognate: 5047 teleiótēs (a feminine noun) – completion (consummation), in its cumulative sense, i.e. built on what has to precede and also supports the stage that must come next. See 5056 (telos).

And bound together in harmony means according to HELPS Word Studies:

4886 sýndesmos (from 4862 /sýn, “closely identity with” and 1210 /déō, “to bind”) – properly, a bond (close union); a close (inner) identity which produces close harmony between members joined closely together (WP).[Note the “close, firm bond conveyed by syn (together,” WS, 242).]

This showed me that the root of my sin of jealousy in this case was the sense that God has been passing me over. He’s continually drawn me into periods of hiddenness, and continually had me tear things down and start over from the ground up. And I realize now that I have felt like He has purposely withheld success from me.

But what He’s showing me here is that each of these tearing down’s have been His cutting away of sucker branches. And that this has been His very necessary discipline. It’s what has had to come first, so that I have learnt to incline my ear to Him above all else and to set my affections on Him and not man. 

For that consummation to come: for me to be joined closely together with Him and His Body in love, I have been in need of His tender loving discipline. His laying of my foundation in His Word above man’s. Yes: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, NIV).

What I can now see, is that if God had not repeatedly caused me to arise in His Word and to depart, where it wasn’t welcomed, I would have fed on and lived for man’s affirmation. I would have revelled in outer success, but inwardly have been rotting away, as all nutrients would have gone into pleasing man and silencing God’s precious Word in me. Each closing down and starting afresh has been His doing: His purifying of my heart, His rooting of me in His love and Word alone.

Oh my heart! So, no! I have not been passed over: I have been loved on. I have been tenderly parented in love. For, just look what I now do when that jealousy arises. I don’t try to prove myself. Nor do I sink into shame. Self-obsessive things I used to do that only steal, kill and destroy. No! I come to my Heavenly Father.

I now know to turn to my Papa, to come boldly before the throne of grace to confess my sin freely and to ask Him to give me a Word to root me deeper in Him. So, yes: my Papa has withheld earthly success from me: not because He was passing me over, but because I am His.

He knew it would destroy the soul of His little girl, who has needed to grow in the knowledge and confidence of His love for her: a love that is constant, binding and enduring. It’s rooted in this identity of love that I am bound together to Jesus and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus always knew the wounds of my past. He knew how my Prodigal wandering began when I turned man into my god: when I began to believe man’s word to be His. Now, through all the cutting away He has taught me to discern His Voice from my accuser’s. He has given me the gift of growing into Him and being firmly rooted in His love above all else. He uncovered my wounds to wash, cleanse and heal them in His Living Word.

So, when jealousy rises in me, I now know to speak to my soul: 

“Put on Jesus, Anna. Let His love cover you and bind all your brokenness together in His wholeness. See yourself as He does: as a chosen and appointed member of His Body. You have not been set aside by Jesus. You have been set apart unto Him and His glorious purposes.

Now dance with abandon in Jesus, Anna. Let His love lead your every step. Let His love now bind everything together in perfect harmony. Let His Word continue to wash, cleanse and renew you in Him: your first love. Let His love pour out like healing rain upon you, as you dance in step with Him.”

Making Friends with the Rain by Wendy Simpson, used with permission. Wendy blogs at Widow’s Manna, and you can find her artwork on WordPress at Wendy’s Vignettes or via Facebook at Wendy’s Vignettes
 
Dance in Abandon

I dance here in abandon
The lover of my soul
He calls me forth
Wild and free
I AM is He.

Pointing fingers
Cutting words
Shaming stares
No man can tame
These feet.

My childlike heart
The Father hears
No fear me withholds
For my Abba Father's
Love me holds.

Safe here in His arms
I sway
The breath of Life
My every step
Now leads.

A dwelling place
In His arms I find
Awaking in His Spirit breath
I now know
I AM forever Home.

Yes, I dance here in abandon
The lover of my soul
Does call me forth
Wild and free
The Great I AM is He.

Father God, I bow my knees before You, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of Your glory You may grant us all to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith—that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all Your fullness. 

Now to You who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)

2 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Day 6 – Growing into Love

  1. Gayl June 14, 2021 / 8:29 pm

    “So, it’s not about me “making myself stop being jealous” or about pushing away those thoughts that rise. It’s about placing that branch in the hands of Jesus, my Good Gardener, and allowing Him to take it away – the branch feeding on human affirmation that is bearing no fruit – that I may grow stronger in Him: my base, my stronghold, my life and breath.” Amen – placing it in the hands of Jesus. Thank you for this reminder, Anna. May we all “dance with abandon in Jesus, for He has saved us. Blessings and love! xoxo

    Like

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