Monday, 10 February 2014
I'm currently reading Simply Jesus, by Tom Wright, and it's really helping me understand just that chunk more about Jesus and the culture and beliefs at the time, that just put him more into context, and make what he did about 10 million times more exciting, and Im so aware that I'm only scratching the surface, because God is so much bigger than I can even imagine, but I am definitely going to praise him all the more for what I do know!
Anyway, I like making notes when reading books like this, of important things it says, thoughts I have and stuff like that. Today I wrote a note, and I want to explain my thoughts. My first thought was that Jesus came to free people from satan and the darkness at its core, not what they could necessarily see. Jews at the time expected God to overthrow Rome, to free them from exile and make them a righteous kingdom, as Gods people. Maybe that a mighty warrior would come, would raise up an army, and fight them to the death, winning, and being in control of everything. But that's not the way God saved his people, that's not how he ruled over the land. When God's kingdom came there was healing, there was forgiveness, there were miracles, demons were cast out and this was the battle. A battle that started with Jesus in the wilderness, tempted by satan, but he didn't sin, he won the first part of the battle. Said battle continued, through Jesus freeing people from what they needed freeing from, healing them, forgiving them, ordering satan and demons and sin to leave them alone, as they hearts were renewed. Jesus knew the depths of their heart, he loved them, and he knew what was really wrong. He won the battle, dying on the cross, the punishment for the worlds sin, the final victory over the enemy, and he rose again, defeating death. Jesus is alive. And there's is still so much more I don't understand, how good and big and amazing is our God? (Of course, this is just my understanding, I suggest if you want to check out if I explained it right you'll have to read the book, and the bible, I'm aware I still have a lot to learn, so apoligies for anything inaccurate).
This then lead to this, "he came to pull the poisonous tree out at its roots, not to remove all the poisonous berries." How often to we ask God to remove those berries, and they just grow back. They could be any number of things, sins, addictions, bad habits - all of these are sins, as they are not honouring God. I know I ask God, often, to please just take away this pain, to heal me from my illnesses, to just make it stop, just removes these berries, for they are too much. I fail to see the bigger picture, I fail to work with God to remove the tree at its roots, what Jesus died to achieve, and instead I just keep asking him to remove the poisonous berries which will inevitably grow back as long as the tree is still standing. I want to be patient, to see what I need to do to work with Jesus to uproot this tree, and to commit to doing it, without giving up, because God will provide his strength. Also, in the mean time, I can stop eating poisonous berries, even though they look so tasty and tempting.
And once the tree is gone? Jesus will replace it with more of his beauty, all the things he was shown you and taught you through the uprooting process will be a strong tall tree, worth all it's time and effort it took to plant and nurture, whilst also uprooting the old one. And if there are any berries left, you'll be so in awe of your beautiful new tree, they won't even tempt your taste buds, you can just stamp on them!
I don't know what your poisonous trees and berries are, I only know what mine is, and even then I'm aware there is more I'm yet to discover. But I know what Jesus is capable of, I know what he died and accomplished by rising again. So I invite you on this uprooting journey, to healing and freedom, to the deepest darkest places you never knew you had. Yes it may take time, but one day you'll look upon your beautiful tree that replaced the poisonous one and praise God for how beautiful he can turn ugly things. I'm committing to this uprooting process, are you?