BibleGateway.com is an superb source of online bible translations/paraphrases and guides in dozens of languages. It also offers great advice.
A recent post asks the question: “When you are worn-out, when you feel discouraged, when you think you don’t have what it takes, what is the one thing that Jesus wants you to never forget?”
The post by Kyle Idleman, author of the book When Your Way Isn’t Working: Finding Purpose and Contentment through Deep Connection with Jesus, talks about those times in life when you’re working as hard as you can but aren’t seeing what you expected to come out of that hard work. His answer to this circumstance is that the one thing we need to do, more than anything else, is stay connected to Jesus.
In John 15, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. Branches can do nothing without their connection to the vine, which supplies life and sustenance, and lets the branch fulfil it’s purpose of bearing fruit. In the same way, if we are not connected to Jesus, we will shrivel in the oppressive heat of the world. Kyle puts it this way:
No matter what happens in the future, no matter how discouraged you become, no matter how disappointed you are, no matter how frustrating the situation is, no matter how tired you feel, no matter what trouble you experience, here’s the one thing you must never forget to do: stay connected.
When your way isn’t working, check your connection with the Vine. You are the branch, and the branch’s most important job is to stay connected with the Vine.
Celebrate Recovery tells us this, right from the very start. In Steps 1 through 3, we recognize what our lives look like when we try to tackle things on our own, then are reminded that Jesus has the power to transform an unmanageable life into freedom. When we remain connected to Him, when we turn our lives and wills over to His care, we find freedom. Rather than than being a life-drained, withered stick, we find new life flowing into us.
This must be a daily flow: just as a branch can’t connect to the tree on March 11th and survive the entire summer, we need to connect with Jesus every day to find the power to take on the day, one day at a time. This is why Step 11 calls us back to our power source. Being corrected to the infinite Life-Giver, Jesus, allows His life changing power to flow into us, one moment at a time. This flow of spiritual power give us the power to make the right choice every day, every moment, in every decision, but it requires that we remain connected to Him and allow Him to transform us.
Imagine two tree branches in January: one lying on the ground and one still connected to the tree. In May, the disconnected branch will still be there, unchanged, drained of life, without any chance for a future; the connected branch will instead be filled with leaves and new life, with a life giving flow from the roots to the tips of the leaves. Connection to the source of life makes the difference and Jesus is the source of our life.
If you never understood what turning your life and will over to the care of God in Step 3 means, take a moment to ask one of the CR leaders after the next Open Share or Study. They will be happy to explain what that means in their lives. If you’ve never done a Step Study, join one. Every person in that group is working through the same questions as you, so Jesus can connect all of us to the freedom He offers.
If you already have started the process of turning your life and will over to the care of God in Step 3 and connecting with him daily in Step 11, but are struggling with how to make this a daily spiritual flow, talk with your CR Sponsor. They will be able to help give you ideas on how to deepen the connection that you’ve already started.
Kyle starts his post with the question “How’s that working for ya?” If what you are doing isn’t working, it’s time to get connected closer to the source.