Cross Points 5.8.22

Feet On The Ground

O, Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;                                                      
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.                                        
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this                    
time forth and forevermore.  

Psalm 131

As the pilgrim to Jerusalem continued to walk up the steep hill toward the temple, now nearing, it is appropriate to humble him or herself.  Yes, this is a milestone event as the person approaches the temple and prepares to make sacrifice and worship the Lord, but as we know from history, many of “God’s people” did not really follow the Lord, straying off to pursue selfish things, or to abandon the Lord as they worshipped false gods.  This song is sung to remind them of the pure heart needed, the soul resting in the comfort of God’s care, and not taking it for granted.  
As we compare this to our Christian walk, it should go without saying that we need continuous
maintenance to maintain the proper attitude and position with our Lord.  When there is no action, no movement, in the Christian life, it is like all other things – we atrophy.  We may say that our faith is stagnant, but truth is, most likely it is regressing, unless we are intentional about this relationship with the one we call Lord.  Is he really Lord?  That’s not just a casual word.
We had a grape vine that we started several years ago, an effort to honor both Rexanne’s grandparents and my own, since both families had grape arbors in their yard when we were growing up.  I can recall the grape pies my grandmother used to make, one of my favorites!  The trouble was, as our grape vine grew, branched out (we even created a sort of arbor for it), it did develop grapes.  But the grapes never ripened.  They would come on green, start turning purple, then develop dark spots on them and eventually wither away.  We harvested very few, and we eventually dug up and burned the grape vines that just wouldn’t yield fruit.  Was it the soil, was it our care for them, what was lacking?  Whatever it was, they just were not healthy.  Jesus used such an illustration, saying he is the vine, and we are the branches.  We must stay connected to him, the only real source of healthy sustenance we have as Christians, if we wish to bear fruit.  If we do not, Jesus says, “If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.... By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
How do you intentionally work on your relationship with God?  If you say you have faith but do nothing purposely that develops your maturity as a Christian, I must doubt such faith.  James, the half brother of Jesus, says this, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works...You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:18-26).  We don’t work our way into salvation, it is by grace through faith indeed, but faith is demonstrated in what we do.  We stumble at times, we fall, but we move, following the Lord, humbly, sincerely.
As we approach worship, let it be as a true disciple of Jesus, calmed and quieted in our soul.
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