by Emily Rose Massey
Monday marked six years ago that I started my journey back to the Father’s arms after being a rebellious, prodigal daughter for several years- choosing to live in painful disobedience instead of what I knew deep down in my heart was right.
Like my book, The Vessel, describes, my journey was definitely a process, as I slowly released my will and surrendered to the Hands of the Potter, allowing Him to mold my heart and life into what seemed best to Him.
Over the course of these last six years, I have definitely felt the ebb and flow, the mountains and valleys, of the Christian walk. I’ve over-complicated it with self-righteousness, over-analyzed teachings of the Word of God, and even relied on my performance and works (of which I can thank my performance-driven/approval seeking old mentality and religious up-bringing for that), instead of Jesus’ work on the Cross.
It wasn’t until recently, I’d say within the last year and half, that I learned to get back to the basics of Christianity (of which I first heard about at an altar-call when I was 16 at a youth conference) - The Love of God shown through the Cross and the Bloody sacrifice of Jesus, a John 3:16 understanding of the gospel.
Because I’ve truly embraced that simple, yet powerful truth, I have been able to have a relationship my Heavenly Father unlike anything I ever thought was possible. I struggled with my view of God because of my weak and broken relationship with my earthly father and because religion highlighted the angry, Old Testament God more than His loving and patient character and the promises of the new covenant.
And it is those promises that I cling to (although I embrace the promises found in the Old Testament as well) that keep me walking. It is the Cross that is at the very core of the gospel message that keeps me believing in God’s goodness, faithfulness, and overwhelming love.
There is such a peace (and many other fruit of the Spirit) that comes when you rest in the shadow of the Cross and in what Jesus has done for you and I. It is so simple to grasp, yet so profound.
There are also so many amazing topics that you can study in the Word of God that will take you deeper in your Christian journey, and I encourage you dig and keep on digging.
But I don’t want you to lose sight of the basics, the foundation for which our Christianity is built upon- abiding in Christ and all that He has done for us.
If you keep your eyes on Jesus and His sacrifice, all other difficulties that you may face in this life won’t be able to shake you because of your security, provision, and abundance found only in abiding in Jesus, the Vine.
That’s why John 15 is probably one of my favorite passages in the gospels:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.17 These things I command you, that you love one another” (NKJV).
Abiding is what empowers us to be fruitful and loving Christians. And like Jesus explains in chapter 13 of John (vs 35), the world will know that we are Jesus’ followers when we love one another.
The love that was shown to us through the Cross is the love that we then pour out to others. That love is what will set us apart and brings more people into their destined relationship with their Creator and Father.
So if you are finding yourself becoming overwhelmed on your journey of faith, which is described as a race (a marathon, not a sprint) in Hebrews 12, maybe it’s time to simplify and bring it back to the basics so that you will have the endurance to walk on and at times, run full-speed ahead.
Our faith-walk as Christians is not an easy one, and is called a fight for a reason (1 Timothy 6:12), but it is a rewarding one- not only here on earth, but in the Age to come!
Keep calm (with your eyes fixed on the Cross), and walk on!