March 8, 2023
Hey Church Family!
We've been talking about character. Everyone values character. No body ever says that our problem is we have too much character. And since people's lack of character bothers us, I think it's safe to say we all need to pursue character and develop it.
When it comes to our character, God's desire is for each us to look like Jesus. Our model is Christ. He wants us to act like, look like, love like, have self-control like, be patient and gentle like Jesus. If you want to know what our character ought to look like, look no further than the one God sent.
The problem is, if Jesus is our standard, that's overwhelming. Even with all the time and commitment in the world, we still could never manufacture the character of Jesus in our lives. It's impossible. But what's impossible for us, is possible with our Heavenly Father. While we cannot manufacture the character of Jesus in our lives, God can produce it through us.
God doesn't wave his fingers and instantly give us the character of Jesus. Rather, his method for us to gain the very life of Christ is simple, yet difficult for us to do. It's simple, in that, anyone can do it. Yet it's challenging because we want to try to manufacture it on our own.
In John 15, Jesus paints a wonderful picture of God's method for who Christ's character is to be produced in our lives. He uses the metaphor of a vine and branch. For any branch to produce fruit, it must remain connected or grafted into the vine. Life will only flow through the vine into the branch if it remains connected. Apart from the vine, the branch dies. No fruit is produced. The same is true for you and me. Christ's life and character will only be produced in us as we remain in constant contact with him. It's uninterrupted fellowship. Uninterrupted relationship. Staying close.
As we stay close to Christ, we'll begin to see the very character of Christ appear in our lives. We aren't capable of manufacturing it—God produces it through us. We'll talk more about our participation in the process in the coming weeks. But for now, I want to leave you with this thought: How close are you to Christ? Have you been abiding with him? Or, have you drifted from him? Is your connection with him simply a religious practice? What would it look like for you to be remain connected to him?
The invitation for you is for a daily relationship with Christ. One in which we recognize that we can't manufacture the character we need, but he can through Christ. Here's a prayer for this week:
Lord, give me the wisdom to know what's right
and the courage to do what's right, no matter what.
Have a blessed week!
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Notes from the Staff @The Woods