John 15 talks about Jesus as the true vine. Jesus teaches us to abide in Him and He will abide in us, making us bear fruit. God the Father is the gardener who prunes the vine that it may bear much fruit.
This illustration of Jesus captures what He wants me to do this coming 2010. The whole year would all be about trust and obedience as I follow Him. His voice is clear, “Karla, TRUST and OBEY Me.” As Jesus said in verses 9-10 (NKJV), “9As 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.”
Select passages from Psalm 119 (TEV) encapsulate my prayer for this coming year:
2 Happy are those who follow his commands, who obey him with all their heart.
4 Lord, you have given us your laws and told us to obey them faithfully.
5 How I hope that I shall be faithful in keeping your instructions!
9 How can young people keep their lives pure? By obeying your commands.
10 With all my heart I try to serve you; keep me from disobeying my commandments.
11 I keep your law in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord; teach me your ways.
13 I will repeat aloud all the laws you have given.
14 I delight in following your commands more than in having great wealth.
15 I study your instructions; I examine your teachings.
16 I take pleasure in your laws; your commands I will not forget.
17 Be good to me, your servant, so that I may live and obey your teachings.
18 Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law.
19 I am here on earth for just a little while; do not hide your commands from me.
20 My heart aches with longing; I want to know your judgments at all times.
24 Your instructions give me pleasure; they are my advisers.
25 I lie defeated in the dust; revive me, as you have promised.
26 I confessed all I have done, and you answered me; teach me your ways.
27 Help me to understand your laws, and I will meditate on your wonderful teachings.
30 I have chosen to be obedient; I have paid attention to your judgments.
32 I will eagerly obey your commands, because you will give me more understanding.
33 Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your laws, and I will obey them at all times.
34 Explain your law to me, and I will obey it; I will keep it with all my heart.
35 Keep me obedient to your commandments, because in them I find happiness.
43 Enable me to speak the truth at all times, because my hope is in your judgments.
44 I will always obey your laws forever and ever.
45 I will live in perfect freedom, because I try to obey your teachings.
47 I find pleasure in obeying your commands, because I love them.
48 I respect and love your commandments; I will meditate on your instructions.
55 I the night I remember you, Lord, and think about your Law.
56 I find my happiness in obeying your commands.
57 You are all I want, O Lord; I promise to obey your laws.
58 I ask you with all my heart to have mercy on me, as you have promised!
59 I have considered my conduct, and I promise to follow your instructions.
60 Without any delay I hurry to obey your commands.
64 Lord, The earth is full of your constant love; teach me your commandments.
65 You have kept your promise, Lord, and you are good to me your servant.
66 Give me wisdom and knowledge, because I trust in your commands.
68 How good you are–how kind! Teach me your commands.
73 You created me, and you keep me safe; give me understanding so that I may learn your laws.
76 Let your constant love comfort me, as you have promised me, your servant.
77 Have mercy on my, and I will live because I take pleasure in your law.
80 May I perfectly obey your commandments and be spared the shame of defeat.
89 Your word, O Lord, will last forever; it is eternal in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness endures through all the ages; you have set the earth in place and it remains.
101 I have avoided all evil conduct, because I want to obey your word.
102 I have not neglected your instructions, because you yourself are my teacher.
103 How sweet is the taste of your instructions–sweeter even than honey!
105 Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.
106 I will keep my solemn promise to obey your just instructions.
108 Accept my prayer of thanks, O Lord, and teach me your commands.
111 Your commandments are my eternal possession; they are the joy of my heart.
112 I have decided to obey your laws until the day I die.
117 Hold me, and I will be safe, and I will always pay attention to your commands.
124 Treat me according to your constant love, and teach me your commands.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding, so that I may know your teachings.
129 Your teachings are wonderful; I obey them with all my heart.
130 The explanation of your teachings gives light and brings wisdom to the ignorant.
131 In my desire for your commands I pant with open mouth.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me as you do on all those who love you.
133 As you have promised, keep me from falling; don’t let me be overcome by evil.
140 How certain your promise is! How I love it!
141 I am unimportant and despised, but I do not neglect your teachings.
142 Your righteousness will last forever, and your law is always true.
143 I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy.
144 Your instructions are always just; give me understanding, and I shall live.
145 With all my heart I call to you; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your commands!
Indeed, I am praying for God’s mercy in order to be obedient for Paul says, “For God has made all people prisoners of disobedience, so that he might show mercy to them all” (Romans 11:32, TEV).
On the other hand, Psalm 119 also speaks prays for deliverance from the sufferings one gets from obeying God’s commands. I know someone whose obedience to the Lord was his period of darkness. Because of this, I cannot help but be nervous about what God would want me to do this coming year. Pruning will definitely come. Questions flood my mind, but I must stay focused on Him, and trust in His wisdom completely–the wisdom that no man can ever fathom.
As I follow Jesus this 2010, I will understand more of my faith, and I do trust in my merciful God that He would grant me understanding for all those things He wanted me to understand. I also pray for patience for the things I cannot understand yet. In the process, I will know Jesus more, and in knowing Him more, I will be able to love Him more. To serve Him is my act of obedience to His commands. His commands are these: To love one God with all my heart, my mind, my soul, and my strength; and to love my neighbors not only as myself, but to love them as He has loved me. Obedience cannot be taken out of this love, for when love is taken away, the result would be similar to how the Pharisees acted during Jesus’ time.
In the end, the result will be great joy. Jesus had taught me to remain in His love, so that His joy may be in me and that my joy may be complete. Because of this I can say, God’s commandments are my eternal possession, they are the joy of my heart.