"I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer...Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me..."
"When you're joined with me and I with you, the relationship intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant...This is how my Father shows who He is--when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples." John 15:1a, 4, 5b, 8, The Message.
My good friend Ken reminded me what the word 'Seminary' means: "A well tilled, fertile piece of ground, where young plants can grow." That is profound on many levels. But, let's just consider it on a personal level.
The Bible is consistently clear in comparing a fertile heart to fertile ground. 'But the one that received the seed that fell on good soil (earlier Jesus had established that the soil signified the heart) is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.' Jesus also said--I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual.
God has been plowing, tilling, cultivating and generally preparing the ground of most hearts I know-especially my own. It takes whatever it takes! My friend Alan is a dairy farmer. I have watched how much focus he gives to preparing the ground. The care with which he plants is incredible! There is no 'wiggle room' if you desire a good and plentiful harvest. Mostly it calls for plain old hard work and brow sweating faith/faithfulness. The harvest is always in the hands of Papa-Farmer.
So much is at stake in 'the harvest'. Being joined intimately and organically with Jesus, Holy Spirit, and Papa Farmer and making our home in them just as they do in us is the main issue. Just as critical is to leave immaturity behind and mature as disciples. Again-a focused, hard, sweaty investment of all He gives us to ‘plant’ with. Come to the 'seminary of the heart'.
It is here that I daily discern God himself, speaking into my heart the supreme value, intimate relationship and deep sense of belonging that’s in Him. This ’intimate and organic’ relationship is the main course of study in the ‘seminary of the heart’. I like to call it ‘the School of Christ’.
His constant desire for you in this ‘Seminary of the heart’ is that you might be overwhelmed with the knowledge of His dream for your lives. His dream can be summed up in one word: Christ. His mirror image in/of you restores your identity to innocence!
In this school/seminary: “You learned Christ! My assumption is that you paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with the old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” (Ephesians 4: 20a-24, Msg)
Just a gentle reminder-Paul was not talking just about ‘sin’; he was also talking about ‘leaning on our own understanding’ and utilizing human logic and reason or philosophy as the route to growth and learning.
Maturity and heart understanding are more relational pursuits than intellectual! Not only is ‘harvest’ the by-product of ‘Seminary for the Heart’, but; so are maturity, destiny and purpose. Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit are beckoning me into ‘intimate and organic’ relationship. How about you?
Someone recently asked me why I write so much? It’s like someone is calling out to me, writing it all down is my way of calling back to them. I guess you could say it is my homework in ‘The School of Christ’ and ‘Seminary for the Heart’! Grades are not the issue, relating to the teacher is.
In the grip of Papa’s Grace, Ron Ross