The next important lesson that we can learn in becoming a disciple is to know how God molds, shapes and trains us to be all that He wants us to be. It is a clear revelation in the Scriptures that God allows and sometimes initiates times of testing to reveal deficiencies in our character. Our Father is the Gardener and prunes the dead wood of fleshly habits in our lives, so that fresh life and fruit may come forth (John 15:2). Not all mishaps in life are God's doing, however. The Lord often gets the blame for such things as earthquakes, tornados and other difficulties that humankind faces. Some things are natural tragedies, while other things happen to us as a result of personal choices as well as choices that each nation or culture makes. Then there are situations we go through that are attacks of the enemy to try to keep us asleep and no threat to this evil world system. We cannot explain all things this side of heaven, but let's look at some of those things that God allows for our testing:
1Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. 2Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:1-3).
The first thing we see about this passage above is that it was God who led the Israelites into the wilderness, the place of barrenness and dryness. Have you been going through a dry season in your life at this moment? Then maybe this meditation is for you! The testing (v. 2) was for the Israelites to realize that even though they had been set free from the bondage and slavery of Egypt, the ways of Egypt was still in their hearts. Slavery's effects still dominated them. It is similar for us; even though we have been released from Satan’s bondage of sin, our sinful habits still rule over us until we become aware that we no longer need to serve our lower nature or fleshly desires. The Lord has to shake us spiritually to wake us up so that we realize and see ourselves as God sees us, free from slavery to sin.
As believers in Christ, we are no longer enslaved to habitually sin with our lips and with our actions. In our thought life, the default of our nature is to sin until we come to a place where we don't live on bread alone, but we need spiritual food, the Word of God, for our spiritual growth and vitality. God allows the test to wake us up to see our complete dependence on God, the Gardener of our lives. This could be the very reason the nations of the world are going through an outbreak. I don’t believe that God is the initiator, but God allows things to cause a shaking and wake people up to the question about where they will spend eternity.
Jesus is the Vine that we are to be spiritually connected to, we are the fruit bearing branches and the Father is the Gardener (John 15). The only way the people of God can produce the fruit of changed character is to have Christ’s life in us, flowing through us. This is what Jesus came to do, give us new life. The church is not an organization, but an organism, and believers are organically connected to the life-source: Jesus the Vine. Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. How much do you value the truth of the Word of God at work in your life? Keith Thomas
These thoughts are taken from the study, The Organic Union Between Christ and His Church.