It’s such a privilege to be a part of what God is doing isn’t it?
Last night I was listening to a new teaching series on the gifts and applcation of the Holy Spirit and it was all laid out in the context of the body of Christ – each part interlinked, working together, vital to one another for the development and beautification of the body as a whole. This morning as I was still thinking about it and my part in it all and it took me back to when Zoe and I were on our way back to the airport from our Honeymoon.
The last leg of our trip to Tunisia saw us take a bus from the hotel to the airport – it doesn’t matter where we are, God is always speaking. We need to be always listening.
Tunisia isn’t the most arid and desolate place I have seen but it isn’t exactly bouyant with the varierty of greenery that delights me in the Rhondda valley. But what they have got are lots of olive groves and olive trees. I’d never really seen an olive tree before so I was somewhat drawn to them all as we passed them mile after mile. But I began to notice something strange – and so I asked God what he was showing me.
That’s not such an odd thing. So often in the Bible, God would ask his servant “what do you see?” God is a God of order and clarity – He is not served by confusing his people and so his heart is to show us what he sees; sometimes in little snapshots like I saw. That’s pretty amazing really as Isaiah 55 tells us that God’s ways are so much higher than our own….yet he lets us understand his plans!
What I saw was that, while these Olive groves were huge and took up lots of ground per square metre, the trees on the edge of the olive groves were significantly smaller than those further in, sometimes as small as half the size of the trees just one row in. I asked God what this meant and this is what he said:
“Get on the inside of what I am doing. Don’t stay on the outside.”
Simple huh? The olive trees on the outside were small but they were still bearing fruit – but because they were stunted in heir growth they only produced half of their potential. Christians can be like that. It is possible to llive good lives and perhaps talk to people on occasion and even bear fruit; but there is so much more for us when we are on the inside of God’s plans.
The trees on the outside remained immature because they were not a part of the bigger picture and were not surrounded by the protection of the other trees. Christians can be like that too. They expose themselves to things and elements they cannot handle and remain buffeted by the winds that come. They don’t surround themselves with people of the Word, who are strong, bearing fruit as examples to us all, and as a result they remain immature.
God is saying through this “Get on the inside” of what He is doing. Don’t be a spectator, don’t actively keep yourself from all that God has for you. Surround yourself with strong people of God that you might become strong yourself and in turn help those who need it.
In light of last nights teaching on the gifts and application of the Holy Spirit, it can sometimes seem daunting to some to step out in the things of God – if you feel that way then you have placed yourself on the outside – you won’t grow fully. Our mid-week gatherings with the church family are the ideal times to step out, trust God and move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit where you know that everyone around you is for you and rooting for you.
I believe this is a word to some of you, an encouragement to others; get on the inside, become strong, become rooted in maturity, become immersed in the things of God, be shielded by your family who love you and look out for you.
Don’t remove yourself from all that God has for you…..get on the inside!