Friday, September 12, 2008

#7 Wrong End of the Limb

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"
Romans 8:35 NASB

Today I had to mow our grass for the first time since we moved in. It was not really bad, but another week and it would have resembled a hay field more than a yard. My landlords are very gracious people. They insisted that we use their mower instead of buying one. They have two relatively new John Deere riders and I was able to use one to take care of our lawn. The only thing that made a routine task a little more challenging were the low hanging braches on about four trees throughout the yard. I lost count of how many times I was slapped in the face and scraped by the branches. After about an hour I was finished mowing and I decided to see if the neighbors had a chain saw that I could borrow. I was delighted that they did. Within the next hour I-with the help of Mr. Chainsaw-made short work of all the troublesome branches. While I was trimming them my mind went back to the cartoons I watched as a child. I can remember watching some of the characters sawing branches while they were standing on them. The unwise coyote and others would try to saw away the branch to cause their foes to drop to the ground and every time they themselves would be the one who came crashing down.

I then begin to think about how many of us do the same thing in our own lives. No, I don't meant literally of course, but in a figurative sense. We sometimes make decisions that are not exactly the most well laid plans. The idea may appear to be something useful when we first put our hand to accomplish it, but the future quickly reveals that we forgot to consider some very important details. Sometimes we do the same thing with relationships. We begin quite nicely with the best of intentions. However, somewhere along the way we may forget to treat others the way we want to be treated and we may become jealous or prideful and cause the relationship to sour. Essentially we cut the branch upon which we are standing and life tumbles us to the ground.

Unfortunately the same thing happens with our spiritual relationship with Jesus. When we first come to the Lord we are on fire for God and we want to live our lives for Him totally, but then someone may say something that offends us or that we take the wrong way and the next thing you know Satan has us thinking more about hurt we feel than focusing on letting it go and letting God fight our battles for us. After a while of dwelling on our own problems and self-imposed misery, we may even fall away from the Lord all together. This does not have to happen. Paul asks us in Romans 8:35, "Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" He then offers some things that would no doubt trouble any of us, but his implication is that even those terrible things are ineffective and unable to pull us out of God's hand. Friends, the only thing that can pull you or me away from God is our own decision to let it happen. Essentially we have to stand on the limb and cut ourselves away from the root of Christ Jesus. Paul goes on to say in the same chapter but in verses 38 and 39 essentially nothing on this earth can separate us from God; nothing that is except our own decision to let it happen.

So I have to ask you tonight, "Which end of the limb of your spirituality are you on?" Are you sitting close to the trunk fully connected with the Lord Jesus or are you dangerously close to walking out to the wrong end of the limb? Are you living your life fully surrendered to Jesus or are you playing games and just living the life of someone who is Christian in name only? It is my sincere prayer that you are living a life of full surrender tonight and that you are not in any danger of being separated from your Lord Jesus Christ. If you are not fully surrendered, why not do it just now. It only takes a minute to bow your head and commit or recommit your life to Christ. He is there longing for you to come to Him completely and to stop sawing the limb upon which you are standing.

Dear gracious and loving Heavenly Father,
Tonight as we come to You we give You thanks and adoration. We want to praise You for how wonderful and magnificent You are. Truly, You are worthy to be praised. As we come Lord we want to ask You to forgive us of our sins both individually and collectively. We are sinners in need of a savior Jesus and we want to ask that You would make our scarlet sins as white as snow in Your eyes. Wash us clean and make us wholly Yours we pray. Tonight Lord there may be some who read this and realize that they have not been living the way they should have. I ask dear Father that You would impress their hearts to turn to You and away from the games that they may have been playing spiritually. May each one of us walk back close to You because it is we who leave You and not the other way around. We desire to be closer to You than we ever have Lord. May we each one have a deeper relationship with You in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years to come. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that we pray, Amen.

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