November 28, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 28}: Refuge unto Growth

Today is my final single-topic day in the Running to the Refuge series.  Tomorrow I will write a conclusion post and Sunday announce the giveaway winner.  Don't forget to throw your name in the hat before tomorrow night!  Click here to read the details and leave a comment.  I cannot believe how fast November has come and gone, nor can I believe how much I have enjoyed writing this series.  Thinking about running to the Refuge has actually led me to more running to the Refuge!  I would love to hear about whether it has done the same for you.

You know, reflecting on how this series, i.e. on how God has used His Word and Truth about who He is to challenge and shape me this month, gives me a great idea for today's topic.  Thank you, Lord! Not only will it make for a good post, but it is also a subject near and dear to my heart: Spiritual Growth.

Did you know you can go to church your whole life, do many dutiful Christian things, and know lots of Bible stories, but not grow a bit in your faith?  I'll bet some of you have life stories that attest to that.  Parts of my life story do.

When I was young what I heard was, Believe in Jesus; He'll forgive your sins.  Then get your act together and live like a good Christian.  I don't think this is what was being said, but it is what my proud heart heard.  The first part is certainly true!  The second part was what my sinful heart believed and clung to, that I could work hard to make myself a good person.  But that is not how our Refuge works!

The Lord invites us to run to Him for Refuge, and under His wings He protects us and trains us.  We don't pop in for a short visit, we take up residence in our Refuge.  Forever.  In His mighty fortress we find Refuge from sin and death and from this world's challenges and ills.  In His presence we learn how to live here by faith, not by sight.  He transforms us from darkness lovers to light embracers!

When the Lord got a hold of me and got through my thick skull with the full truth that I need Him for both salvation and growth, my life started to change, really change, for the first time in my life.  I am still amazed at His goodness.

Would you like to look more like God and be a better reflection of Christ in the world?  Stay close to the Refuge!  Don't try to make yourself look more like Him; instead, spend more time being with Him and thinking about Him, especially your daily, hourly, minutely desperate need for Him.  Remember that His Spirit lives in you!  You have access to God at any moment because of Christ's blood and the presence of the Spirit in your heart.  Let your mind be blown by this truth and let your soul be at rest because of this truth.

Jesus talked about this comparing our relationship to Him as that of a branch to a vine and God as the vinedresser, John 15:1-5.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

Do you want to grow in your faith?  Run to the Refuge and stay put!  A broken-off branch cannot bear fruit, but a grafted branch can thrive when connected to a healthy, well-tended vine.  What goodness, kindness, gentleness, and patience we encounter when we run to the Refuge!  How our Lord wants to see us grow and bear fruit!

I have some ideas for you of how to get started/keep growing on this page, or maybe you would enjoy the series on the spiritual disciplines.  Run to the Refuge, set up camp, and keep asking the Lord to speak to you and transform you as you walk with Him through all your days.  He will shape you by His grace and in His time, giving you more reasons to love, praise, thank, and live for Him!

***Don't forget to get your name in for the giveaway here!***

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