Writing to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul echoes the poetic truth from Psalm 130: “We cannot live by our own strength. We cannot save ourselves – who could stand if we tried? To focus on gaining salvation by our own flesh is to focus on death, but to focus on what the Spirit can accomplish is to focus on life”
Paul then references an image Jesus uses in John 15: “You are in the Spirit, because the Spirit abides in you. You belong to Christ, because Christ dwells in you. Because the Spirit is in you, life is in you, because God gives life through the Spirit just as life was given to Jesus for the resurrection.” Like a vine that relies on its roots and branches to have life, God, the Spirit, and Christ work together for life. “Remember,” Paul says, “that you are part of the vine and the roots and the branches – you cannot have life on your own.”
Some days, I lose sight of the Root that grounds me in God’s mercy. My spirit feels tossed and tumbled by self-doubt, by envy, by the rat-race that says I am only good enough if I am ahead of everyone else.
Some days, I lose my perspective on the Vine that flows with Christ’s love. My hope is short tempered, my grace for others is limited, and I wonder whether people will ever stop warring with one another.
Some days, I fail to remember that I am rooted in the Branch of the Spirit’s delight. My fear overthrows my faith and my heart loses its courage to fly because it sees the risk of falling.
Yet somehow the Spirit encourages me to set my mind on joy, Christ reminds me that love will never run dry, and God points out that I don’t need to chase after peace.