Guest blogger Heather Williams
There is something about me that is inherently comfort seeking. It starts as early as I wake up and start the death march to my coffee machine. I seek comfort. There is something so "wrong" about that. More and more lately I have been aware of my selfishness and my complacency. It is time for a change..a drastic change in my life. I was reading in Matthew where Jesus told the first disciples to follow Him...
New International Version (NIV)
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
These guys didn't even ask questions. I would have been like "umm Jesus do you not SEE that i am fishing here..give me a second." It seems irrational to just stop everything you are doing.. in their case.. stop their job, their livelihood, their way of life and just follow Him. But I get it.. I have made that decision (not as easily as these guys.. truth be told it took some more convincing) and I left all I was and was doing and followed Jesus. Then... I just settled into a "christian" job and a "christian" way of life. I became comfortable. I was alright with weekly services that I would plan music for. I was cool with everyday church as usual. Every now and then I would get passionate about change but if it got shot down I did not fight for it.. I just accepted it and kept floating on the lazy river of my comfortable, cozy, christian life. But God has been waking me up in a drastic way. I don't want to be comfortable I don't want to settle for a float on a lazy river.
I also read in John 15(the message)
1-3 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. 4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
It is clear to me that just "choosing" to follow Jesus is not enough.. you have to "live" in Jesus. HE is the vine we are the branches...yeah, I know the kid song. Being intertwined with Jesus, grafted in.. there is going to be pruning. That..does NOT sound comfortable. But it says that in order to produce fruit we have to be. Any living vine has to be trimmed of the things that will choke out the fruit. In my life I am seeing complacency and comfort seeking as things that are choking me...keeping me from being more fruitful. No more. I am done with it.
I encourage each of us to search our lives. What are the things that are in need of being trimmed off? Are there things in our lives that we are clinging too like a security blanket? If so why? What do we need to lay down? Jesus was HARD CORE. I don't remember reading that He ever made life easy for any of His followers. The choices they were asked to make were not easy. They gave up everything to follow Him and then they stayed with Him. I don't know about you, but the choices I put the "christianeese" stamp of "is God calling me to this?" are pretty ridiculously small compared to the Disciples. Not to make light of our life choices, just some compare and contrast. In other countries we have people who have to make a choice that affects their life. We have people who literally risk their lives to follow Jesus. I want my life to be a radical one that is so much so that when people look at it they get uncomfortable.. they become aware of things that God wants to get a hold of in their life. I want to be a life that shows Jesus' love so radically that it encourages others to do.
God, my prayer is to be with You. I want to abide in You. I want my life to be so overflowing with fruit that my branches are heavy. It scares me to even ask and pray this..but I want more of You in my life.