Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grafted In Christ

This is something i realized at work the other day . . .
In the Bible, i'm not sure where, i believe it says we are 'grafted' into the Body of Christ when we receive the Holy Spirit. When Christ lives within us, He makes us one with Him, and we are no longer what we were, but rather grafted onto Him.

I want to go a little further into this; as most of you know, we have a flower/vegetable/fruit tree section at the feed store. The vast majority of the fruit trees we sell, and off the top of my head i can't think of any exceptions to this, are grafted trees. The rootstock has to be a hardy plant that's climatized to the area, and can endure the heat, the drastic changes from one day to the next, the droughts, etc. What that does is it sets the foundation for what's grafted onto it, so that its immunities and ability to endure is passed on to what is to be grafted. The rootstock pretty much surrenders what it naturally is so that something else can thrive as it would have.

Here's a brief summary of how to graft a tree; when the rootstock is still a young tree, it must be cut off about a foot or so from the ground. It is then split a few inches down the middle. A branch of the weaker tree, the one that would otherwise be fruitless, is usually (not always) dipped in a hormone that encourages root growth, then set down in the split of the rootstock, and then it's tied together so the rootstock can grow over the grafted branch and make the two into one . . .

The rootstock gives what is rightfully its own in exchange for the sake of the weak, barren and fruitless. It is cut off so that another plant, one that, if all was fair, would not be able to grow (or, if it did, it wouldn't produce fruit). The grace shown by the rootstock covers the faults of the grafted branch.
Not only this, there are trees that are grown in nurseries for the sole reason of being cut off so that the weak, frail tree could grow.

Jesus must be our rootstock. He was born to be cut off so that we could be grafted onto Him, so that He could grant us the life that we would otherwise not have, so that our branches may produce fruit. If we give ourselves to His sacrifice, and tie ourselves to Him, He will grow around us, and He will change us into something new.
He will root us in the spiritual, and grant us life in a place we could never dream of existing. We were made for Heaven, but humanity has fallen to the point that we've decided that we're born the the world.
We are unable to, on our own, produce fruit that is good.
Without a rootstock, our roots will rot and our fruit become bitter, or nonexistent at all. Being rooted in Christ through His sacrifice gives us the ability to, once again, produce a fruit that will satisfy, a fruit that will not rot or be bitter or unpleasant.
It allows us to be what we were made to be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Lord's Prayer (pt. 1)

I'm going to do a little bit of a dissection of The Lord's Prayer . . .

"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name . . ."

Our Father. Meaning not just mine, but the Father of all who call on Him; the One who resides in Heaven, above all things. The One who spoke the universe into existence from Heaven, a place beyond this universe. To Him, the Creator, the One who allows us to be the children of the Most High God . . .

Hallowed; honored, revered, seen as holy. Hallowed be His name. His name, how we call on Him, it's a sacred thing, and to be used for Him alone. Jehovah, Yahweh, His name is Holy. Even the utterance of His name is not to be taken lightly.

"Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven . . ."

His kingdom come . . . This is praying that He establishes His kingdom here, among us. That the world become His. In a kingdom, there is the patriarch, then those who abide in it are the subjects. Praying that His kingdom comes is praying that mankind as a whole becomes subjects of the King of kings.

Praying that Heaven be made on Earth, that the world comes under His rule, and His protection. When a kingdom extends its borders, whatever it encompasses becomes the property of the kingdom. This is asking Him to extend the borders of Heaven. He's fulfilled His side of the blood oath; we must die to the world to live in Christ; we must lay down our lives in servitude to Him to fulfill our end of the deal.

His will . . . This is a really interesting part. His will . . . In another verse, it says something along the lines of all things working out for those who love God. That is His will. His will is for us to get up, and go out and change lives for Him. He is our Shepherd, we are the sheep. When one sheep goes astray, if all the other sheep are doing as they should, the stray will realize it's safer within the group that trusts the Shepherd.
Not only this, it's forsaking our own will, our earthly desires, and surrendering ourselves to God. We instinctively believe ourselves to know what's best for us, what we want to happen in our lives, and to want the simplest means of achieving those goals. But we're finite. And we can't comprehend the infinite, so it's hard for us to trust the One who is. But He has a plan for us all. His promise to Jeremiah about knowing him from before He formed Jeremiah in his mother's womb, that He had plans for Jeremiah to prosper and to be blessed; that does apply to us, too. It's our will that gets in the way of those plans and blessings. Leaving every aspect of our lives up to God is hard to do, especially when we see a way that seems painless and quicker, but God uses our struggles to our advantage. He teaches us patience, hope, faith, and contentment. We learn to appreciate what blessings He gives us at the end of our struggles.
His will is perfect. When working a puzzle, you need to see the front of the box in order to know what goes where. Try assembling a puzzle with the blank side of the pieces facing upward, and with no idea of where anything goes in the end . . . We need to trust that there's a big picture that we can't see, and that He knows what it is and can see where every piece fits independently of the others.

In Heaven, God has absolute rule, everything in Heaven cries "Holy", and praises Him. All those in Heaven succumb to His will, never doubt, never stray, never look away from the perfection that is our Father.
I'm not saying He's not all-powerful in this realm as well, just that He gave us, out of love, the freedom to follow Him or not to. He doesn't change our minds for us, He doesn't force people into a certain train of thought.
On earth as it is in Heaven means that we're crying out for all things and all peoples to, make themselves His. The only way for this to happen is for Him to change us first. With willingness, we can ask Him to change our hearts, and He will. By the transforming and renewing of our minds, so that "[we] may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
To have His kingdom come and His will done on earth as it's done in Heaven, the change starts within ourselves, not by asking others to change.
They'll know we're disciples of Christ by our love for one another . . . They'll see something in our lives they want to have in their own, and they'll seek it out. But still, we are commanded to go out into the world to spread His Word. And to let our light shine like a city on a hill that will not be hidden.