“…and you do not have His Word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One whom He has sent.” John 5:38
Well, it looks as though I’m starting off with the negative today. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes it’s not hard to look around and see a lot of negative stuff happening around us. That’s not surprising. Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” This whole conversation today stems around Jesus being confronted with the negative attitudes of the people around Him. Solomon also said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” And here was a time to confront the negative.
I’ve been having a tough time with some of the negative things in my life. Negativity seems to abound all over the place. Even in my garden. Now, I don’t have a green thumb but my garden this year has just seemed to be overwhelmed with a weed called wire grass like never before. It’s sneaking in under the boarder and it reaches it’s long roots all over and stretches them out. When I try to pull them up, part of the root remains. It seems to be targetting the midst of my perennials that have survived year after year. But now, all these weeds are inhabiting them. They just snuck in and are wreaking havoc. And I think the soil just is sapped of it’s nutrition this year. And I’ve even had the thought of plowing the whole thing over.
Hmm. Wonder if that’s how You felt the year You sent the flood over the whole earth? I guess You’ve been dealing with the negative since Adam and Eve fell. And You are still dealing with our negative today. Well, I suppose I had a defeatest attitude for a while and didn’t know how to handle it. Pull the weeds as I would, there they were again. Well, I’ve decided that I’m more than an overcomer. I declared war on the weeds yesterday. I may lose some plants. Well, I have. I’ve intentionally pulled anything that wasn’t what it ought to be. I took out my big shovel. I’m turning the soil and getting those weeds at the roots as deep as I can go.
I had the garden covered in dark plastic to keep the roots out but I found that covering the garden just gave the wire grass a secret way to sneak in. It just follows the darkness until it finds the light. And the light happens to be where my plants are. So, covering up is part of the problem. Battle day 2, today, I remove the plastic covering. I mean business weeds. You are outta there!
And today, You, Lord, mean business. Whatever weeds of sin are in my life, You want outta there. The sneakiest and worst weed of all that can stretch it’s way into our hearts is the weed of unbelief. Funny thing is, we can think we have our spiritual lives covered. We can think our spiritual gardens are beautiful, like the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadduccees, when in reality, the weed of unbelief has crept in and sunk it’s roots all over the place.
The beauty here is that in pointing out the negative, You tell us what we positively need. You start out by telling the people that they don’t have God’s Word abiding in them. That’s not just about having the Scriptures inside. These were the religious leaders. They had tons of Scriptural knowledge. This was something even deeper and stronger than Scripture. The Word of God, God Himself, in Jesus-the Word, was lacking in them. They couldn’t have Jesus dwelling inside because they wouldn’t even acknowledge Him.
So, let’s say I’m struggling with that. Let’s say that I agree with God’s word, the Bible. Now, how do I get it to the point where it’s not just a book I agree with? How do I get it to the point of placing my trust into Jesus and having Him come to live in me?
Jesus, the physical representation of God sent for us, demonstrated Himself through Him. God = Life. God=Jesus. Therefore, Jesus=Life. But life isn’t just about life after death. Death=lack of Life. Jesus=Life. Therefore, death=life without Jesus.
“Listen, listen, this is important stuff,” Jesus says, “Honouring me is honouring God. Prize Me like You prize God. Set Your value on Me. This is where faith starts. Listen, listen again. This is more important stuff! When You hear my words and You take them to your heart and believe, You are believing God Himself. My words, believing in Me, placing Your trust and life into Me brings You alive. This is what You were created for, to be alive in Me, Life Himself! Without Me, You are already dead. In Me, You are alive! Forever! Judgment over Your life or death starts with Your decision about what You do with Me today.”
It’s not enough to just know Scripture. These leaders trusted in the Scripture to save them. But they weren’t believing in them. They were interpreting it to fit their desires. But Scripture was given to fit us to God’s desires. It’s God’s invitation to come to Him so that we might have His life. The love of God is only found in Jesus. Jesus must abide inside me in order for me to demonstrate His love. I must receive Jesus His way, as He is, not as I want Him to be. I must receive You, Lord, in all Your glory. But sometimes we worry about the “glory” of the people around us. Sometimes I worry more about who will see the weeds in my garden more than about what You think about them. But not today, those weeds are one spiritual battle that’s not going to steal Your glory!
Lord, I need to take Your Word, Your Scripture to heart and live by all of it. You faulted these teachers for saying they believed the Scritpures. But Moses spoke of You and they were not believing his words. So if they didn’t really even believe who they said they believed, how could they believe at all? In other words, they said they were placing their trust in Moses, but here they were denying his words about You.
So, what about me? Am I saying I trust in You, but demonstrating something different with my life and actions? Am I searching Your Word and just reading it and going on as though the mirror didn’t show me anything? Are they just words I can pick and choose from? Or have Your words become life in me? Do I soak You in as I sit and read and meditate in Your words? Are they really Your words to me? Can I hear Your voice? Can I hear You speaking to my heart? Do You become more precious, more dear, more highly treasured to me with every word I read? Do I apply what You say to my life? Do I pluck out the weeds as You point them out? Do I let You point out the big shovel to me, and let You gear me up in my battle gear, and step into the garden of life with You?
Lord, You are Life and Victory. It’s a won battle already. Remind me that every moment. Sin and weeds are just lies. They act like they have a lot of power, but You have already demonstrated all the power. You have already won. You’re alive! “…then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”!!!!!! You defeated death and sin. They have no more power. You died and “BOOM!”, You broke the power they had by Your power, and You rose above them. And in You, we each have the power to rise above sin and death, but only in You. And there is absolutely nothing I desire more than to be in You.