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I was in Deming, New Mexico last weekend and ministered a word on ‘The Space Between’. I have been writing on Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life in my Monday blogs. When Jesus proclaimed to His disciples that He was the way, the truth, and the life it was in the space between the Passover supper and His arrest to be taken to His crucifixion. John records those events in John chapter 13 and John chapter 18. Between those chapters Jesus spoke many words as to being the way, the truth, and the life. I believe that His words in chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 identify what we can expect in the space between anything that has been and what is yet to come. As leaders, we must know how to embrace the things that Jesus presented in those chapters, and we must lead others into the same.
There are many spaces between in life. There was the space between the cup of the Passover meal and the cross. There was the space between the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The space between the death of Jesus and Jesus walking into the room of His hiding disciples. There was a space between that room and the ascension of Jesus. There was a space between the ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We will always find ourselves in a space between. In the present space between we are having to embrace Christ as the Rock upon which we stand. It is a time to know the One who does not shake and is in fact the One who shakes the things that can shake. In this space between we are being drawn by God to connect to Him and to connect to others in new and responsive ways. We are being renewed in the courage of the Lord, the holiness of the Lord, and in our faith in Him. It is about His courage, His holiness, and a trusting of who He is. God is courageous and He will not relent in His love for us all. God is holy and He will eradicate the unholy realities of our lives and world. God is good and we can depend on Him in all things.
In the space between, sometimes we face good news and sometimes we face bad news. When we find ourselves facing bad news, we usually look back to the good news of the past and then we hope for the good news of the past. Sometimes we face good news only to find another episode of bad news in days to come. Whether we are facing good news or bad news we must know how to live in the space between. Leaders don’t just lead in the times of great glory or in times of hardship. Leaders lead in the space between.
We must know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the way to go from where we are to where we are going. He is the way to stand in this gap between. He is the truth of all that is in heaven to be seen in our world today. He is the truth to the space between. He is the life in this place between today and the life that is yet to come. In the space between we must know God in us, upon us, and with us. The Holy Spirit is God in us, spilling over to be upon us, and Holy Spirit with us in every aspect of our lives. This is a place of knowing God more and more. Every space between is a time to know God more. It is a place of knowing God. It is a place to live in God and to discover God living in us. We must never let our hearts to become troubled. God is in us, upon us, and with us. To be a leader means leading others into the place of not allowing our hearts to be troubled. We are a dwelling place of God. In every situation we find ourselves in God is doing something in His dwelling place. We are a place of God’s dwelling. Jesus revealed our need for Holy Spirit in our lives in the space between the cup of the Supper and his arrest in the garden. In John chapter 15 Jesus told His disciples that part of our process in life is to allow God to remove things that are dead in our lives and to even prune things that appear to be alive in our lives to make us able to bear more fruit for the lives of others.
Jesus compared our relationship with Him with that of being branches on a vine. God honors the vine by pruning it. God honors us by pruning us. He cuts away the things that are dead. He trims back the things that grow quickly but will not carry the weight of the destiny of the future. This is part of our living in the space between what was and what is to come.
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Pruning is an honorable thing to do for the vine. The objective is to prune it for its own destiny and purpose. I have fruit trees in my garden. I also have grape vines and with grape vines you cut a lot off vines every year. Last fall I cut my grape vines way back. Now they are full of new branches with grapes growing to maturity everywhere on my vines. During the dormant season I went to my apple trees, and I examined how they were shaped. I cut off the branches that were not matching the destiny of fruit so that the other branches would be able to bear more fruit. In that process I was honoring the destiny of the tree. There are branches on the tree that if I don’t tend to them would grow straight up. If I have feelings for the branches of the tree that are beyond the feelings of a creator, or less than the feelings of a creator, and I will look at that tree and I say, “I will never cut a branch off this tree.” I might think that I am being kind and I don’t want to hurt anything, but I am being less than a creator in my thinking. In my own life God honors me by removing things that are not beneficial to my destiny. He shapes my attitudes. He shapes my desires so I will bear more fruit. It is the same in a family. A family’s attitudes are shaped. A family’s attributes and characteristics are shaped so the family will fulfill a family purpose. That is honorable. God honors the vine by pruning it. God honors me by pruning me. He cuts away the things that are dead and trims back the things that grow quickly but will not carry the weight of the fruit of the future. God’s words to us are not to make us clean. We are already clean by the gift of God in Christ. God’s words to us are so that we will bear fruit. Leaders allow God to bring pruning to their lives and they also allow God to bring pruning to the lives of those they lead. Whatever is being cut away in our lives today is for the sake of fruit in the seasons to come. Pruning is part of the process we find in the space between.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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