It’s not a feeling that we pray for and hope the Lord will be kind enough to give us. It’s a command. An action. Just like love and trust. We are commanded to rejoice in our Lord. Paul said it was no trouble to him to write it twice, and it was a safeguard to me. Thank you, Paul, for this splendid reminder.
We spent the whole morning and most of the afternoon cooking for the weekend. Dozens of cookies, several meat pies, four deboned chickens, six loaves of bread and a few casseroles later, I found myself outside in the gathering gloom, helping Josiah cut up and haul off warped and tangled trees from the side of the barn.
An interesting parallel: the vines start out small and attractive, tip-toeing up the trunks of those trees, winding affectionate arms around the base and clinging close. But if they are not rooted up immediately they soon destroy. They suck the life from the tree, they choke, they warp, they weigh down and they kill. Soon the tree can’t grow straight toward the light, it becomes weak and it dies. Even if the vines are torn off later, there are deep scars commemorating the reign of the vines—the “entanglements”. The imagery of Paul, speaking of us running our course with endurance, throwing off the things that so easily entangled us, was powerful in my mind as I tugged on the vines that bound those trees, robbed them of their beauty and destroyed their fruitfulness.
What are the vines that bind my soul, pulling it away from the Lord, holding me back from fruitfulness, overwhelming the beauty of what the Lord would do in my life? Daydreams. Goals. Plans. Relationships. Pass times. What must I eradicate to be free to grow and serve Him as He designed?
Lord, Thou sees my inward parts
And only Thou can cleanse my heart
For only Thou knows fully, truly,
All that lurks there, still unholy.
Come with scythe and knife and sword
Cleanse me with Thy sharpened word.
Free the limbs that Thou hast made
That I may grow and offer shade.