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 Issue #106 Mon, 4 Dec 2006

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seeker of truth

Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #106 Mon, 4 Dec 2006   March 12th 2007, 00:50

The Sweetest Type of Heaven

Dear Youth,

“The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Lord abides.”¹ Why is it that more often than not, even Christian homes are not a place we would call “heaven”? In fact, it seems that the hardest place to be a Christian is in the home!

One of my most favourite quotations is this one here found in The Adventist Home, p. 179: ”To come near to Christ, is to come near to one another.” I only discovered it a few months ago as I was asking the Lord for something “special” to put on a quilt I was making for my daughter. Instantly, I was drawn to this sentence and it struck me like lightening. I thought it to be so obvious, yet so profound. You see, a lot of us go around trying so hard to get along with this or that person, perhaps a spouse, or family member, maybe a difficult teenager or parent, or fellow worker etc. We put in every effort, gritting our teeth and biting our tongue and perhaps even “grinning and bearing it”, yet we still feel the same towards this person. We still feel the strain of the relationship. The hurt and pain, of many years perhaps, is still there. The problem is that our outward actions (our earnest efforts to get along) are not corresponding with our heart! Therefore, it seems, that it is the heart that needs to change. And there is only ONE way that a heart can truly change and that is as a person surrenders his/her entire being over to their Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us in John 15 that we need to abide in the vine; He being the Vine. Why did Jesus use the vine in this illustration? Why not a graceful Palm tree, the grand, strong Oak, or the lofty Cedar? Why a vine with it’s clinging tendrils? If we take a look at the Palm, the Oak or the Cedar, we first see that they stand straight and tall all by themselves with no need of support. Jesus, in representing Himself as the Vine, teaches us the lesson that even He, in His humanity, was dependent upon divine power—”I can of Mine own self do nothing”. (John 5:30) The vine needs a trellis, or support, that it might climb heavenward. So we need a support, a divine power outside of ourselves that we may climb higher and still higher. “Without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) If Jesus needed help from His Father, then surely we also need help to live as He lived (see 1 John 2:6).

We are told that we are the branches of this vine. If, as a branch, we are to be grafted into this Vine, then obviously we must first be detached from the plant we are already a part of. What plant then, are we presently attached to? Quite simply, that plant is “self”! Now this “detachment” may not be easy, after all, it is never an easy thing to be cut off from something, is it? However, in this process of grafting, it is essential for us to detach. At this point it is important that we sincerely search our own hearts, as David did (see Psalm 139:23, 24), to see just what it might be that we need to let go of. For some it may be a cherished idol of some kind, maybe pride, selfishness, a love of the world, anything really, that is not drawing us heavenward.

However, once detached, we are now free to be grafted into the true Vine, from whence will come our life-blood, the sap! As the graft strengthens, as each vein and fibre grows into the Vine stock, “The life of the Vine becomes the life of the branch, so the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 675) And once grafted we are told in John 15:5 that we will “bring forth much fruit”.

So what then is this fruit that we are to bear? Often this is thought about in relation to how many we have helped bring to Christ, and this is so. But one morning as I was contemplating this thought of “bearing fruit” my attention was drawn to the connection between coming near to Christ, abiding in the Vine and coming near to one another.

As the life of the Vine becomes the life of the branch, we will bear the fruit of the Vine Stock that we are attached to. If it is Christ living in and through us, then we can only bear the fruit of a Christ-like character. It is as we allow Christ to rule our entire life, even down to our very thoughts, (see 2 Corinthians 10:5) we will bear the fruits of His indwelling Spirit: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) And now as we live out Christ’s life, by constant attachment or connection to Him, bound to Him, as it were, by the grafting process, we will love one another as He commands us to in John 15:12. The key then to getting along with others and truly loving them is in this very quote that I was drawn to. Before we can come near to one another, we must first attach ourselves, fully and completely, to the Vine. Now our heart has been changed because it is Christ’s (see Ezekiel 36:26, 27) and the outward actions will now correspond with our heart.

And now we come back to the question I asked in the beginning ’Why is it that more often than not, even Christian homes are not a place we would call heaven?’ It can only be that we have not yet detached from self, and as a result we have not been grafted properly into the Vine. “Abide in Me, and I in you” is our Saviour’s plea, that we may come near to one another in true love and humility (see 1 Corinthians 13). May it become our life-long heart’s desire to come near to Christ, making our homes the sweetest type of heaven, where the Lord abides.

--Wendy Fox

PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
¹The Sweetest Type of Heaven by Sherry Kelemen
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Issue #106 Mon, 4 Dec 2006
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