A good vintner will not allow his vines to grow how they will in whatever way seems best to them, but he will work painstakingly to guide, redirect, and prune each plant so it may reach the full potential it cannot even imagine for itself. –Notebook of a viticulturist
If you have followed this blog for long, then you know how often I have recommended reading through an entire year with Brian Simmons, The Divine Romance.
In a recent devotion Dr. Simmons wrote,
Too often we define ourselves not by what we are, but by what we are not. We focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths. We allow past failures to dictate our future. We can easily think of a million reasons why we can’t have what we want; yet the Lord is shouting from the sideline, “Only believe!” —The Divine Romance, Believe ~ June 15
Your Full Potential ~ Living at 3:20
You also know how often in this blog we refer to 3:20 living. That, of course, is referring to Ephesians 3:20. If ever there was a bible verse that sketches out what the “abundant life” looks like it is this verse:
Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. (Note the highlighted section.)
This abundant life we all desire is, “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desire, thoughts, or hopes.” and, is not accomplished through our striving.
Instead, it is an expression of Jesus Christ our Vine, and it done by, “his mighty power at work within us.”
We do our part by surrendering our agendas and timing; looking to our source; the “mighty power within,” which is merely an unhindered expression of The Vine’s Life flowing through His branches–us.
Again, our part is to BELIEVE–when we do so–He works.
I know it sounds too simple.
You might even be asking, “All I must do is surrender and believe?”
But, think about it. Think about how many things in our Christian lives are contingent on just these two imperatives?
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. Mark 5:36 KJV
Just look at the man Jesus is encountering.
Here is a desperate father.
He is hoping for an answer for his child, and Jesus says to him, “Only believe.”
What you believe, or who you believe in, seems to be paramount, when you are at your wits end and don’t know what to do.
Boy, have I been there!
This scenario reminds me of that lovely old poem,
Wits End Corner
Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Christian, with troubled brow’
Are you thinking of what is before you, And all you are bearing now’
Does all the world seem against you, And you in the battle alone’
Remember at Wits End Corner Is where God’s power is shown.
Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Blinded with wearying pain
Feeling you cannot endure it, You cannot bear the strain.
Bruised through the constant suffering Dizzy and dazed, and numb
Remember at Wits End Corner, Is where Jesus loves to come.
Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Your work before you spread.
Or lying begun, unfinished And pressing on heart and head.
Longing for strength to do it. Stretching out trembling hands
Remember at “Wits End Corner” The burden bearer stand.
Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Yearning for those you love,
Longing and praying and watching, Pleading their cause above,
Trying to lead them to Jesus Wondering if you’ve been true’
He whispers at “Wits End Corner” “I’ll win them as I won you.”
Are you standing at “Wits End Corner” Then you’re just in the very spot.
To learn the wondrous resources Of Him who faileth not!
No doubt to a brighter pathway Your footsteps will soon be moved
But only at Wits End Corner Is the God who is able, “proved.”
And…, “Hooray!” Dr. Brian Simmons cheers us on:
Your world is framed by what you believe. It’s time to see your life from His (Christ’s) perspective and allow His truth to drown every lie. Don’t look at others and wish you were like them. God created you with all you need to succeed and be happy. It’s time to believe in yourself. It’s time for freedom to flood your soul. Take hold of His truth and hold it tight. It has the power to unravel self-doubt and make you the happiest, most courageous, and successful version of yourself that you can be.
–Brian Simmons, Believe, The Divine Romance
Jesus Christ is your Vine–you are His Branch–His very life and power have been vouchsafed to you.
Merriam Webster defines “vouchsafed” like this,
a: to grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner b: to give by way of reply 2: to grant as a privilege or special favor
For the Believer, His very LIFE is our privilege–the Life of the King of Kings is flowing through us every moment!
Now I ask you, “Do you believe that?”
“O Lord God! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power; nothing is too hard for you! Jeremiah 32:17 TLB