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Reading through John, chapter 15, you could respond in two different ways. Those words exude love, but if you’re struggling with your walk with God this morning, you can quickly become timid at these sayings.

In John 15, Jesus is speaking. He talks about himself being the vine (the life source) and us being the branches (dependent upon him). He says that those who don’t bear fruit are like branches that God takes and throws into the fire!

Note to self: Bear some fruit in your life!

You can see why we approach scripture, God’s words, with fear and trembling. But here’s the thing. People probably use this scripture to fuel their case about the ability to lose your salvation. I respect people’s opinions either way.

But here’s God — as I read that, and as fear began to creep in (I take God’s word very seriously), I felt God come to my rescue and wash over me with his peace! Yes! I know I can rest assured that “remaining” in him is not performance-based.

I knew the “goodie two shoes” kid in school who smiled (annoyingly) because she was an overachiever and had no fear of repercussion from the teachers. I was the “screw up” who hung my head low and avoided all eye-contact with teachers.

God doesn’t want us to view him as a performance-seeking school teacher who’s going to give you a grade at the end of your life. Yes, there are rewards in heaven, and you will do good works because you love him, but his rewards are not based on the concept of checking off your “good deed” for the day. What he wants from you is your heart.

It’s a heart that never gives up on a relationship with him that I bring to him this morning! God knows we are helpless without him. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to receive the power to live for him. When we fear, it’s because WE lose sight of that. WE step out of alignment with God’s heart and mind. God never changes. He never leaves you nor forsakes you (Hebrews 13:5).

I praise you, God, that where I am weak — you are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10)!

If you’re confident of your relationship with God, going through a high/mountain top season, you feel like you can hold your head up and embrace those words, and feel Jesus’ words as a soothing balm. You can feel his warm embrace and love for you.

That’s because Scripture is a mirror to your soul. What you see, when you read words in scripture, is what God wants you to see — and that’s why you can read through the whole Bible seventeen times and get something new out of it throughout every season of your life.

I am NOT saying you have to earn God’s love in any way. But how you perceive what you’re reading is a reflection of the state of your heart. If you become fearful of the words of Jesus, seek to align your heart with his, understand that he loves you, and embrace his teachings.

Correction is good for us. And Jesus wants your relationship with him to be REAL. Not “surfacy.” That means we’re to accept the “hard” sayings as well as the “loving” statements. The thing is, it’s ALL love. Once we understand that, we will see scripture in the way God intended.

Every good soldier has been through boot camp, designed to break you down, train, and to toughen.

God’s boot camp picks you up out of the miry pit, sets you on a solid Rock, and does surgery on your heart. He restores your “inner man” and renews your mind, heart, and soul to everlasting life!

I’m so grateful we don’t have to fear what Jesus has for us. I pray that you walk in his peace today. Get into the word and let it transform your life-little by little and morning by morning.

Until next time,