True Vine (book review)

In my personal Bible reading time, I tend to go rather slowly. I enjoy digging into the words and phrases, the Greek or Hebrew definitions, and the deep truths that can be uncovered in each verse. If you enjoy this type of in-depth Bible study, I think you will enjoy True Vine by Andrew Murray.

True Vine is a 30-day study of John 15:1-16, where Jesus talks about His relationship with us and with the Father, and our relationship with the Father in the language of a vine, branches, and fruit. It may seem like a full month just studying 16 verses is a bit intense, but Andrew Murray’s insights are very easy to grasp.

Each day’s study is not too long, but he pulls out a few insights that are ready-made to apply to your life. And each day’s devotional ends with a prayer that pulls it all together.

It was a very enjoyable study for me. You will enjoy it too, only if you want to go deep.

If you have a Kindle, you can download True Vine for free by clicking here.

[I shared some quotes from this book here.]

Do You Want To Be A (Better) People Pleaser?

I know a lot of people who want to please others. This pursuit, however, can get you into hot water. For instance, when you need to confront a friend on their poor behavior. Or when someone doesn’t properly express their appreciation to you for appreciating them.

The Bible gives us a better way to be a people pleaser. 

Paul wrote: So we make it our goal to please [God]… (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Instead of goal, the King James Version says, “we labor.” If it is labor, then it truly is a labor of love: work that is challenging, but rewarding. In fact, the rewards are so overwhelming, that the sweat of labor is quickly forgotten.

The Greek word for labor/goal means work that is activated by the love of honor, and so it brings forth our very best effort.

I desire to honor God and please Him, and I desire to be honored by God and find my full pleasure in Him. After all, as the Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

So my labor of love is activated first by my love for God; and secondarily by my love for others. Isn’t this what Jesus gave us as the Great Commandment (see Luke 10:27)?

It is God Who has made us for this very purpose [to enjoy Him forever] and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come [honor and eternal pleasure]. (2 Corinthians 5:5)

The Holy Spirit helps activate and direct my labor of love. The Spirit uses my labor of love to draw others to Christ; the Spirit assures me that my labor of love is bringing honor and pleasure to the Father. And in that knowledge, I find my pleasure to continue to labor in love.

So if I want to please people, my goal must be a labor in love that pleases God. Out of the knowledge of His pleasure and honor, I am better prepared to present a labor of love to others.

God pleaser (first) → People pleaser (as an overflow) 

The better we please God, the better we’ll please people.

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