As we walk in the door, Holy Spirit is uncorking overflowing bottles of champagne1 and showering golden confetti everywhere! Innumerable angels, dancing and singing by Love’s Great Armchair next to the Roaring Fire,2 celebrate as our family feasts at the long table. We have all been brought back home!3 Joined with the Lord, and one Spirit with Him!4 This makes life in its entirety the same as His – bliss!5 This has nothing to do with us, except that we are the objects of His love.
Grace is scandalously easy. It is the normative essence of the Kingdom: “the righteous live by God’s faith.”6 Everything is meant to be by grace, not by works. His grace is free, and honestly it is so good that it must be true. Our whole life is a new creation, not just one part!7
In Christ, everything that hinders our ultimate pleasure and joy in God, life, and one another – sin – was abolished as He died, grafting us as Branches onto the Righteous Vine as participants in His resurrection life!9 The grafting, however, is only the beginning of a new life for the branch!10
It must now drink from the Vine to be strengthened. It grows as it does, producing leaves, flowers, and seed-bearing fruit! With each passing harvest, the branch grows more, its yield increasing in quality and quantity.
O little branch, did you know our Gardener has long-term plans for the overall growth, shape, and fruitfulness of the Tree? Can you see His end goal, the forest He intends to spring up from the seeds of everybody’s maturing love and humility, or the road He has chosen to get there? As a branch, our only responsibility in every season is to drink and keep drinking the life of the vine, whatever season it is.
“Abide with Me,” Jesus says, “and you will bear much fruit.” Does the branch really have to work to stay on the tree? Does it have to labor and persuade the Vine to fill it with Its’ life? Read Jesus’ words again; hear the grace in that statement! The branch is part of the vine. How can it not abide? The Vine’s life flows unceasingly into the branch simply because the branch exists. What a gift! How can you not be drinking God’s love?
If the branch begins to devote its life to many unnecessary offshoots, little twigs that spread its life out over too many areas, it may eventually make the branch sick or even kill it! Thankfully, the Keeper is diligent to prune the branch! By lovingly removing everything that hurts its long-term development, He increases its vitality and fruitfulness. Pruning is good news!11
This answers a final question: how do we drink the life of God? As we can see, because His life is continuously flowing into us, the truth is that we are already drinking, and this is simply a byproduct of our united existence with Him. We can even say that we are perpetually drunk because He is unceasingly pouring His love into our hearts.12
Faith is the substance that manifests Reality.13 Choose to believe, and we will find it so. Yielding to this reality of union with Christ and Jesus’ love constantly flowing in you is the key to everything you desire. He IS the feeling of love. Know, as the branch drinks from the vine, it is both the gateway into and the path of a branch’s maturity.
It is the one thing necessary for the branch.14
As we learn to be with Jesus, surrendering to His love, it flows out of us back to Him. We love because He first loves us.15 And while He empowers us, working through us with His mighty energy,16 the point is the communion with Him, the friendship. It is the best life you can imagine in every way.
Wherever this seems hopeless or impossible to you, it is a lie, a definitive indicator that it is yours already! There are disempowered, defeated powers that are terrified of your realizing this, because, instead of being enslaved under hopelessness, powerlessness, and fear, you will transform your world with the delight and power of God!17 All things are possible when you believe!18
The greatest way we can continually glorify Him is to continually receive His gift of love, believing what He has done.19 The result is a life of rest – loving and enjoying Him and one another in perpetual celebration in our day-to-day life.20
Drink, branch, and be drunk with love!21
Father, let us become perpetually aware of your Bliss and Wisdom within us. Constrain us with Christ’s love, giving us an impelling motive to know You, and by this unceasing overflow of love, declare Your goodness with our lives to the world around us!
- Song 1:2, 2:4, 5:1; Acts 2:13
- Heb. 12:22-24
- Lk. 15; Rev. 19:9
- 1 Cor. 6:17
- Ps. 16:11
- Hab. 2:4
- 1 Cor. 5:17
- Rom. 6:6-7
- Rom. 6:6-11
- Jn. 15:1-11
- Mt. 7:24-27
- Rom. 5:5
- Lk. 10:42
- 1 Jn. 4:19
- Col. 1:29
- Col. 2:13-15; Eph. 1:19-23
- Mk. 9:23
- Rom 5:5
- Heb 4:10
- Song 5:1; Acts 2:13; Eph 5:18