Duration: 365 days
Read Jeremiah 17:7–8
A tree planted by a river derives its strength and nourishment from the river and produces abundant fruit.
So often we tend to overlook the simple truths of life and forget that the profound is usually revealed in the simple. For example, we can act out what we are not (at least for a little while), but this will not produce long-term fruit in our lives. In other words, an apple can only reproduce apples, because that’s what it is at its core. Similarly, if we have an issue with anger, then no matter how kind and demure we try to act, eventually a challenging situation will arise and we’ll blow! As long as that anger goes unchecked and unhealed in our souls, we will continue to produce the fruit of anger. The same holds true for fear, jealousy, depression, low self-esteem, and so much more.
Many of us miss out on the abundant life that Jesus has for us because we haven’t taken an honest look at our spiritual core and recognized that our souls need some work. Forced to examine the fruit of my own life, I realized that I lacked any real deep joy and was only happy when things were going my way. Instead of having any peace, I was constantly striving for perfection and approval. I only had one speed, and that was supercharged. I don’t think I even knew how to spell the word “patience.” I wanted everything yesterday.
Regardless of how strong and whole we think we are, we must remember we’re all on the journey to Christlikeness and Christian maturity. This maturity is reflected in the alignment of our inner and outer worlds. But the road to maturity is always a process. As we choose to allow God to enlarge, stretch, and strengthen our soul muscles, we will be able to fulfill a second facet of the Great Commandment: loving God with all our soul. And as our core begins to change, the spiritual fruit will become the mark that defines us as followers of Christ. This outflow of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control won’t be temporary or shallow, because true and lasting transformation has taken place.
That’s the beauty of a soul restored, renewed, and ultimately reborn: When our inner and outer worlds flow from the grace of Christ, we won’t have to strive to act like a Christian, because we will simply be one.
POINT TO PONDER
Is your soul safely anchored in the Spirit of God? Does precious strength and nourishment flow to you from him? When your inner life and your outer life prosper as one, you will know that your soul has been restored.
Devotions by Christine Caine copyright © 2012 by Christine Caine and Equip & Empower Ministries.