Happy January! Hoping this year started off softly for you. I have been focusing on spending more time with Jesus and studying my Bible. I am part of a Whatsapp group and its focus is studying the love of God and I also have a women’s devotional that I read. I will link them below if anyone is interested.
Two devotionals might seem like a lot but I am always surprised at how the lessons align. I am in a season in my life where there has been some losses and lessons. I really want to work on my relationship with God and discover how to make the most of it. Losses and lessons are never fun but I have learned that they are beneficial for growth. Today’s devotionals made me think about God’s plan and love for us. Jesus wept for Lazarus even with the knowledge that He was about to bring him back to life. His compassion for us and the ability to feel our pain caused Him to cry for his friend. Jesus doesn’t want us to hurt and although He could not eliminate our pain, He has tried to reduce our hurt. The Bible is a great manual on how we should live our lives. If we follow Jesus and live as He intended us to, we could avoid a lot of suffering.
I’ve lost a couple of people who I considered friends these past couple of years. As the relationships started to wane, boundaries were set to try to salvage the relationships but when those were not respected, I had to remove myself. Those working on themselves are familiar with setting boundaries and upholding them. Boundaries are meant to protect us. Person A does something that we do not like and we are able to establish a boundary so they are not able to do it again. Boundaries are meant to strengthen the relationship. God has also established boundaries for us, because He loves us. Boundaries create safe places for us. God wants us to be safe and He understands that some things can bring us pain and suffering. Boundaries are not meant to limit us. God wants us to have an abundant life. In order to have that, there are some places we cannot be (physically, mentally, and spiritually).
In John 15 we learn that Jesus is the vine, His Father is the gardener and we are the branches. The gardener prunes the vine to ensure that it bears fruits. The branches cannot bear fruit if they do not remain in Jesus. We are also given a boundary. At least three times we are told to “remain in me” by Jesus and then He even tells us to remain in His love. When we move away from Jesus and His love, we can see how our lives change and we begin to struggle. In Matthew we are told to come to Him and we will find rest as His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Yet most times when things get heavy, we run from Jesus instead of to Him. So if Jesus sets this boundary to remain in Him then it must mean that He is our safe place. Why would we run from Him. Pruning is an act of love and is necessary for growth. God wants the fruit to bear but in order to do so, they must adhere to the boundaries set for their growth.
Our walks with God are very personal. Like plants, each person requires something else. The one who knows specifically what we need is God and He has told us to remain in Him. He knows the plans He has for us. If we are to see those plans fulfilled then we need to remain in Him. Remain in His love. Our safe place. As parents, we set boundaries for our kids. Our relationships are full of boundaries and boundaries are not a bad thing. It shows commitment to the relationship and the want to make the relationship mutually beneficial. John 15 gives us one example of a boundary we have but there are plenty more we can find throughout the Bible. It’s time to take heed of the boundaries Jesus has set for our benefit and adhere to them. When we begin to follow Jesus’ example then we can receive the peace promised us. Disregarding boundaries and doing what we wish will lead us down a path of suffering. And that’s a path we are not going down this year.
Bible Study Journal: https://a.co/d/1wcWKqP
Devotional: https://a.co/d/1wcWKqP https://a.co/d/cjfKCAl