Sometimes, life gets in the way...it comes at us with a wind of force, and the unexpected change of winds require that we change course and tack into the headwind to push through. That reality for me last fall, required that I step away from writing this blog or a while. As we begin a new season of the Purposed 365 Podcast, it is also the right time to resume the blogging as well. Thank you for coming back...join me as I resume this series I intended to write throughout last fall. For a fresh start, I am reposting the initial installment so that we can begin from the beginning. Please read on...
...we made a move from another state, back to middle Tennessee, in 2018. We decided to sell our home and move here, renting an apartment initially, because we weren’t sure where we wanted to settle. We moved from a 3-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom apartment of about 900 square feet. In preparation for our move, we got rid of a huge amount of possessions. Surprisingly, that was a very freeing experience. It felt good to become unencumbered by much of the stuff we had accumulated over 30+ years of marriage. We settled into our little apartment and became quite comfortable. It became apparent that the physical construct of the place in which we live is not what determines whether we feel at home. It isn’t the size of the house, the roominess, or the conveniences of the stuff we compile, that gives us a sense of home. On the contrary, the most important thing that makes us at home is the people we are with and the knowledge that we are in God’s hands...that gives us that feeling of belonging.
Living, belonging, abiding…these are concepts that are so basic to our human experience. They are basic to our experience because we are designed by our Creator with these needs deeply embedded in our DNA. Scripture tell us…
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
,The parable that Jesus tells of the Prodigal Son, speaks to so many hearts because it speaks to this need for belonging, loving acceptance, and being at home. Brene’ Brown has written,
“Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all women, men, and children. In the absence of love and belonging, there is always suffering. May you love and know that you are deeply lovable.”
To know that I belong…to God, who has shown me mercy and given me redemption; to my brothers and sister in Christ, with whom I share the journey of life; to my family, with whom I enjoy the daily joys of relationship, love and care…this gives me a sense of stability, worth and perspective. These are the things that enable us to most effectively live out our purpose in life. It gives us the confidence and, I could even say, the reason for doing what we do in living out our purpose. The beauty of this is, even if you do not have your “blood” family around you (our broken world and broken condition may not make this a reality for you), our relationship of belonging with our Heavenly Father and our spiritual family, can provide all that we need to sense and experience love and belonging. While you may not be able to wrap your mind around that at this very moment, there are many who can testify to that fact in their lives. I would encourage you to ask God to reveal this to you in His unique way.
In John 15, Jesus was sharing with his disciples about this concept of belonging and abiding.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… 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. John 15:1, 4
Abiding…“to remain, to stay closely connected, to wait for, to settle in for the long term.” This is the reality of becoming at home in Jesus. Experiencing that type of connection with Jesus, enabled and cultivated by the Father’s work in us, is what makes it possible for us to live a fruitful life. Spiritual fruitfulness is all about living out our purpose. If our lives are producing fruit, we are in the sweet spot of purpose. The question may be, what does it look like to be fruitful? What is the fruit we produce in our lives as “branches” that are connected to the “True Vine?” I suggest the following definition of Spiritual Fruit:
Spiritual Fruit in the life of a Christ follower is anything that is produced in our lives (thought, actions, word or attitude), by the Holy Spirit, that glorifies God.
Meditate on that for a while. Consider all the things on which you spend your time and energy. How much of what you do, think, say and radiate, is glorifying to God? The truth is, the more we are connected to the life-giving sap of the Vine…the more we are abiding in Him...the more our lives will be filled with these fruit that glorify the Father.
It’s all about having a “place to live” where we belong…where we are loved and we can love…where we are known, and know. That place is in our connection, abiding in Christ. Give some thoughtful reflection on how much you are abiding in Him. Over the next few weeks, we are going to dive more deeply into this concept, in this series I’ve entitled, “A Place to Live.”
Where is your favorite location to live, physically? Does that place reflect a longing in you for connection or belonging? What are some things you have learned about abiding in Christ? What are the distractions that vie for your attention when it comes to abiding in Him? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If this content has blessed you, please like and share this post on social media.
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!