"I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed." (Philippians 1: 19-20) Paul is in prison, and he points out that his deliverance is tied to his earnest expectation and hope that he "will in no way be ashamed." Shame can have such a crippling force in our Christianity. Imagine if your spiritual leader were in prison. Your friends would all be like, "Well, what'd he do?" And to be honest here, before he was this great apostle, Paul led a life of persecuting and killing Christians. So really, he had plenty of reason to be ashamed. But he knew that shame is the real prison from which we need freedom; he believed that he shouldn't be ashamed of anything. How often do we carry around regret, thinking we should have done this thing, or we shouldn't have done that? But your sins were separated from you, set aside, and nailed to the cross. So today, let's let go of any shame and let our prayer be like Paul's—that because of Christ, I will in no way be ashamed.
In John 4, Jesus tells a woman that the water from her well will just leave her thirsty again, but that the water He has is living water and anyone who drinks it will never thirst again. In verse 11, she asks Him, “Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself?” Jesus is offering some new water, but she’s like, “Hey, the old water is better.” And she is referring to really old, like Jacob old; he dug that well over 1000 years ago! It’s funny to us because here is the Messiah, literally the son of God, telling her that he has something new, and she wants to stay with the old stuff. Jesus has something entirely better—something that works—and she wants to stay with the same old thing that doesn’t work. She is living in the past and maybe pulling from the well of her history. She has a checkered past, and perhaps she is letting shame hold her back. Let’s make sure we’re not holding on so tightly to the old that we entirely miss the new. Jesus is a new well of living water. Let’s drink from that!
“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.” (Ezekiel 47:12) These fruit trees are you; you are called to bear fruit to God. It goes on to say, “Every month they will bear fruit, because….” Wait, because what? For a tree to bear fruit every month, something magical is happening. Most fruit trees give you fruit once a year, but I want to be fruitful like this! So, because what? Are you ready? It says, “Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.” This whole chapter is about the new church, the church that Jesus spoke of, His church, His bride, the gathering place of those who are called out, the city whose architect and builder is the Lord. When you plant yourself in God’s house, and you get that water from the sanctuary every week, then you’re in the river of God’s Word and His Spirit. And it comes with a promise, not just of the promised land that you are on, not just the glorious riches that are in the saints, not just the hidden mysteries of God, but also extra fruit. Do you need more fruit? Then get planted in God’s house, rooted and established in Him.