Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you–if you remain in His kindness. Romans 11:22
How long has it been since you considered the character traits that make up our God? He is infinitely merciful, and we love that about him. But He is also infinitely just, which means those who decide to meet eternity without the covering Jesus’ blood affords will find darkness and isolation waiting for them.
Our God is complex, no doubt, but the way to salvation is not. It’s simple. Jesus is the gate by which we approach God’s vineyard. Any other opening is insufficient to allow us to pass through. Other gates promise that when the time comes we will be able to pass through them as well, but other gates are insufficient for us to be able to pass through.
Let me say that again: Other gates are insufficient for us to pass through.
There is only one way to God’s kindness, and that Way is the way of Jesus Christ.
For as long as I can remember, I have been encouraged by the fact that God has his merciful, compassionate, and comforting side, and that He has that other side to him.
I would not want to live in a world without justice, and I don’t think you would either.
I do not want to live in a community of lawlessness, filled with individuals who act under the guidance of their own failed consciences. I don’t think you want that either.
I do not want to spend an eternity in a place where insult, injury, destruction, and persecution are not finally and forever dealt with–the guilty ones having been separated from godly society because of the crimes they have perpetrated on innocent victims.
I do want second chances, motivators that move me to think and act rightly, and gentle, persistent reminders to consider the consequences and put evil behind me. When I make mistakes, for surely I will, I want them to be forgiven.
Our God does all that and more. He also defends the downtrodden, avenges wrong, and protects innocents. Because He does, we love him. Were it that He did not do these things, would we love Him any less? I don’t know, and I am glad we will never have to find out.
Today’s wisdom comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. If you research the passage, you will find that Paul, in this writing, is referring to the Gentiles as wild olive branches that were grafted into the True Vine. Being grafted in, in this passage anyway, is akin to “remaining in His kindness”.
The passage also speaks of insolence and hubris and other nasty things that go bump in the night of our souls. The conclusion it draws for this reader, is that when we decide to let self-will steer our destiny it builds a mound of dirt between us and God. For those who pursue such paths, withering begins and death follows. In this case, the branch has been cut off from the nourishment of The Vine. Not by God, but by our own proclivities toward evil.
Alone, we cannot survive the onslaught of lies the world churns out in abundance. The shriveling state of branches that will not trust God predict futures that are bleak, but I believe better for you.
I believe that you still have a thirst for the kind of water that quenches. I also believe you are ready for the challenge of diverting dying branches to the water supply that has been provided inside the vineyard.
We all know people who are standing outside God’s kindness today. We all know branches whose leaves are curled, yellow, and dry. For whatever reason, they are not grafted in, not yet receiving the moisture that will feed their drying tendrils. It’s not God’s fault. He’s given them every opportunity to thrive where they’ve been planted. It simply is what it is, but prayer can change that.
Won’t you pray for them today?
Ask God to shake their tree.
Ask Him to stimulate their roots, one more time.
Ask Him to break down their resistance to spiritual things, then be ready.
In the hot glare of a noon-day sun, God may cause them to lean in your direction. When they do, be prepared to give an answer for why you believe.
The outcome is up to God. All He asks is that we be ready to do our part in His Vineyard.