The story of Cinderella is about a beautiful woman who has a jealous stepmother and stepdaughters who treat her cruelly. The Prince in the land holds a ball with the hope of finding a woman to marry. Cinderella is not allowed to go, but after everyone left, a fairy showed up and granted Cinderella the wish to go to the ball, she used her wand to create a beautiful ball gown with beautiful slippers and a carriage with a driver. The only issue is that when the clock turns twelve she needed to be home as everything the fairy created would be gone. When she went to the ballroom all eyes were on her especially the Prince who fell in love with her. The Prince danced with Cinderella and they had an unforgettable time, suddenly she realized it was close to midnight and she ran, while doing so, one of her shoes fell. The Prince found the glass shoe and told his servants to find the girl who owns the shoe. Yet, the shoe never fit any of the feet that tried them. Cinderella's stepmother locked her in the room and she cried. A mouse snuck into the stepmothers pocket got the keys to the door and placed it under the door to Cinderella, she ran down and tried the shoe on, and it was a perfect fit. The Prince had her escorted to the palace where they married and lived happily ever after.
What does this story have to do with Intimacy with God? Everything! The beautiful bride represented by Cinderella can easily get ensnared under the bondage of the Devil (wicked stepmother) and his demons (the stepdaughters), yet as we cry out to God, He sends help, Angels (mice), and the Fairy (Holy Spirit), who prepares us and makes a way for us to get out of bondage and to meet our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He is our perfect fit! We are the ones He has chosen to be intimate with and serve alongside Him in His Kingdom.
One thing I always tell my wife is she is my perfect fit. We may not feel perfect but He is perfect and in Him, we are perfected. He wants us to grow in a deep intimate relationship with Him, and enjoy the goodness of His Kingdom as a member of His royal family. The key to this life is found in this chapter and it can be summarized with the word "ABIDE." We must not allow our wicked stepmother, the Devil, to keep us in bondage anymore, it is time to break out of Lo-Debar and come into the Palace of God's love.
We read in John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit."
The perfecting comes through the pruning, and the pruning is continual because we are called to produce more and more fruit. We are in a time of Global pruning, problems have come to the surface so we can first acknowledge them and then secondly to receive direction from God how to remove them. We are not to ignore or blame but solve! What are some of these current issues, health, systemic racism, education, police brutality, domestic violence, community disparities, elitism, spiritual immaturity, just to name a few?
As it says in John 15:5 the only way we can bear fruit is by remaining in Him, apart from Him we can do nothing and anything in our life that is not of Him needs to be cut off. Just because we do something in His name doesn't mean it is in Him. Bearing fruit means carrying His nature. If what we do doesn't reflect Him it is deadwood, and the only place it is in the fire to be burned. The pruning God is doing is removing dead works from His church many of the things we have stopped doing because of COVID 19 we are to never return too. God is simplifying His church, bringing us back to a place of intimacy. As we go back to the garden we will also regain our authority. Intimacy and authority go hand in hand. Knowledge of God without intimacy with God produces nothing but dead works. Intimacy with God produces abundant fruit.
Growing pains is a term used to describe the discomfort children go through when they are getting bigger. For God to get bigger we must allow Him to slice and dice the areas of our life that He is not pleased with. What brings glory to God as it says in John 15:8 is bearing fruit which actually proves that we are disciples. People can claim this or claim that but it is not believed unless proven. If we are truly children of God then we bear the fruit of our Father.
During this time of testing, you see how people can be so fickle, so easily moved, attitudes can shift so quickly. Throughout John 15 it says we are called to remain, to abide. In verse 10 it tells us how, "by obeying the Father's commands." The church as stressed grace so long that obedience seems to be forgotten. Grace is not the gift to get out of trouble for our disobedience. Grace is the gift to empower us to be obedient. The greatest command and the ultimate expression of love are laying down one's life (John 15:13). Jesus' death on the cross is love defined, and we are to pick up our cross daily, dying to ourselves and serving those God has placed before us which is the cross-lifestyle. Wearing a cross looks good but carrying a cross is what transforms our world.
As we grow in an abiding relationship with God, learning to remain in Him. We step into a place of deep intimate friendship where God, the Father speaks to us His hidden mysteries. There is nothing better than being a friend of God! To co-laboring with Him to see His will done. To know as it says in verse 16 that we are chosen and appointed to bear the fruit of loving others.
Yet, we must understand that this walk is not easy, and walking with the Lord will bring suffering. The world hates God and therefore hates His followers. As it says in verse 20 if He was persecuted we will too. We can not win everyone over, but one thing we are to do is give nobody an excuse for not knowing the way to salvation, for our life speaks for it in the fruit that we bear. He is our perfect Fit!