It was a beautiful summer afternoon; the kind where towering thunderclouds peppered the soft blue sky, making me hungry for vanilla ice cream piled just as high. Humidity soaked into every fiber of my being and movement was restricted to a snail’s pace. Severe thunderstorm watches were issued, and I waited for the summer thunderstorm that never came.
A few days later…
It was a beautiful summer afternoon; the kind where the sky is so blue you’re not sure it’s even real. I had been out and about earlier in the day, but I was hiding from the humidity in my air-conditioned office, hard at work on something very important, I’m sure.
I have a tendency to lose track of time while I’m working, so when my office grew dark I thought it was getting late. Oh bother, I forgot to eat supper, again! I glanced at the clock that’s hidden behind my computer screen and realized it was still early in the evening, not even 5:00.
Huh. It wasn’t supposed to rain today. All of the weather forecasts predicted beautiful weather and clear skies. The deluge that pounded my house a few minutes later proved the forecast models wrong, yet again. Rain poured off my roof and shot out cracks in the gutters. The wind blew so hard and so long I was sure I was going to lose some trees. No weather watches had been issued, but I found myself watching weather that was doing some damage.
This has been the pattern across western Wisconsin this summer. The forecast models just can’t predict what the weather is going to do. One town can be getting a doozy of a thunderstorm while two miles away there’s hardly a sprinkle. Thunderclouds threaten the worst and then pass us by without incident.
We know how to appear holy, but without the power of Christ, we’re all show. Just like the thunderclouds in the summer sky, we’ll blow on by without producing a thing. We’ll be stuck in the same old patterns of hiding our sin and weaknesses and pretending that everything is “fine”.
Friends, we don’t have to live this way. Romans 7:4 (NLT) says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.”
When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we died with Him. Our spirits literally died with Christ. We died to the power of the law, we died to the power of sin, we died to the need to pretend all is well, and we died to our flesh. But like Christ, we didn’t stay dead. We’re alive in Christ. We’re united to “the one who was raised from the dead” and our spirits are raised from the dead too. We can now walk in the Spirit, united with Christ. As we walk in Christ, we can “produce a harvest of good deeds for God.”
It is Christ who lives in us and through us, as we allow Him to. We can stop trying so hard; we can stop puffing ourselves up like a giant thundercloud and instead allow Christ to work through us. The harvest of good deeds comes as a result of being united with Christ. It isn’t a result of our own efforts or striving, it’s a result of Christ in us.
When we live out of our unity with Christ we can be like the surprise thunderstorm, always ready to pour out rivers of living water to those who are parched in this dry and thirsty land.
“He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’” – John 7:38, AMP