To till (toil) or not to till (toil)

Genesis 2:5, states that “there was not a man to till the ground” yet all the flora grew. This implies that God’s creation was designed to grow, irrespective of man’s work/action, for every herb of the field, that was given to man to eat (Genesis 3:18) grew, until man disobeyed and brought a curse on the ground and the need to till the ground and toil (sweat) for it to bear fruit/yield (Genesis 3:19).

In order to reverse this mishap, Jesus had to come and toil (work) for our Salvation (as creation itself groaned in sin and in error pinned (Romans 8:22)). He finished the work (John 19:30). The ground yielded thorns and thistles as a result of man’s disobedience (Genesis 3:18). A crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head as a result of his obedience (Philippians 2:8) and by being pierced, Jesus annulled the curse on mankind. Now, anyone who abides [is planted/rooted] in Jesus Christ, shall bring forth much fruit (John 15:5), by God’s doing, for he gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7), and without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Points to ponder:
Without Jesus, we need to till and toil. In Jesus, we need not till and toil.
He said, “Come unto me, all of you, who till (labor) and are heavy laden (toil) and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Do you need to till (toil) or not to till (toil)? In other words, Are you without Christ or are you in Christ Jesus?

Genesis 2:5 (KJV)
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

7 Steps in Christian Life :: Step 3 – Abide

Christian life begins with Christ and continues with Christ, but as we live for Christ, what are some of the steps one has to take.

Upon taking the step of confessing our sins and acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, the word of reconciliation is committed unto us and we are ordained to be ambassadors for him (2 Corinthians 5:20). But in order for us to be effective ambassadors of Christ Jesus the King, we need to first ‘abide’ (submit and be grafted) in him.

Step 3 in Christian life is to Abide in Jesus. Jesus said, that he came into the world so that whoever believes in him should no longer abide (remain) in darkness (John 12:46) and prayed that God’s Holy Spirit may abide with us forever (John 14:16). He cautioned that unless we abide in him, we will be ineffective (fruitless) in our commission as his ambassadors (John 15:5). In order for us to abide in him, we need to allow Jesus to abide in us, so that the Spirit who is willing overcomes over the flesh that is weak and contrary to the Spirit.

When we do not abide in Jesus, we are only fit to be cast out (John 15:6). We need to keep our fleshly lusts and desires under subjugation, lest by any means, when we have shared God’s words with others, as his ambassadors, we ourselves should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Points to ponder:
Do you and I abide in Jesus? In other words, do we have Jesus abiding in you? Step 3 is to Abide in Jesus Christ, lest we be a castaway!

Romans 10:2-11 (KJV)
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession [acknowledgment] is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

1 John 1:8-10 (KJV)
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess [acknowledge] our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 Corinthians 9:27 (KJV)
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Fables Rewritten :: The Bundle of Sticks

AN OLD man on the point of death summoned his sons around him to give them some parting advice. He ordered his servants to bring in a bundle of sticks, and said to his eldest son: “Break it.” The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the bundle. The other sons also tried, but none of them was successful. “Untie the bundle,” said the father, “and each of you take a stick.” When they had done so, he called out to them: “Now, break,” and each stick was easily broken. “You see my meaning,” said their father – UNION Gives STRENGTH. (Reference: Aesop’s Fables)

The Bible counsels us to be of one accord with other believers (Philippians 2:2) and Jesus prays for the unity amongst his disciples (John 17:20-23). In fact Jesus prays that the believer not only be one with each other but also with one with God (John 17:21). Unless we abide in Jesus Christ, we can bear no fruit (John 15:4). The old Irish saying, “Ni ceart go cur le cheile” means that there is no strength without unity and without Jesus Christ we are weak, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Union with Jesus Christ gives strength and nothing or no one can break us.

John 17: 20-23 (KJV)
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

John 15: 1-5 (KJV)
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Discipleship Series :: The Continuation

Jesus said, that one must, continue in the word of God to be his disciple (John 8:31). The word ‘continue’ is used in the context of the word ‘abide’. To abide is to be implanted or grafted. We must be like branches grafted to Jesus, The Vine. We cannot be a disciple of Jesus and not be part of him or let him not be part of us. But how can we know if we are abiding in Jesus or not? The answer is “fruitfulness”. When we abide in Christ Jesus, we shall bear much fruit (John 15:8); the fruit of the Spirit. Our life will be fruitful. In other words, it will be filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, against which there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Point(s) to ponder:
If we are disciples of Jesus, are we implanted with and in him and bearing much fruit of his Spirit?

John 8:31 (KJV)
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 15:7-8 (KJV)
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.