April 27, 2022

Life-Giving Invitations

Written by Boyd Bailey

Love extends invitations to experience the beauty of life. Anticipate life-giving invitations to grow you more like Jesus Christ.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 27, 2022

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:3-4, NKJV

My wife Rita made a passing statement recently that profoundly impacted my heart and jarred my thinking, “It seems like the best things in life are invitations.” Wow! Yes! Why didn’t I connect the dots? Dinner with friends, vacation with family, sporting events, a concert with a favorite artist, sailing with our small group, hiking, church or just being at home alone, inviting myself to do nothing but rest and read. Best of all, Jesus invites me to be with Him and to become His best version of myself. Love extends invitations to experience the beauty of life.

Jesus’ life-giving invitation is to all who have been cleansed by His Word to abide in Him. With striking imagery, Jesus describes a healthy fruit bearing branch. He begins with the vital process of pruning to nurture healthy vines which produce delicious fruit. On some plants there are small twigs that need to be cut back. Some people describe them as suckers because they suck out the nutrients going to the vine that produce the fruit. In the same way our loving Father prunes back any obstacles or sin in our life that may be sucking life from the work of the Spirit to produce healthy, attractive fruit. Divine pruning is a good pain that produces robust and lasting fruit. 

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2).

Beware of being trapped by false pain that comes from projecting another’s hurt and insecurities on yourself in the form of rejection. Yes, you are admonished to bear another’s burden with grief, comfort and empathy without making yourself feel guilty by not having the same issues or problems. Instead, thank the Lord for His grace and truth and continue to minister out of a healthy position of true love and acceptance. Henri Nouwen unpacks this idea better than I can: “It is a struggle to keep distinguishing the real pain from the false pains. But as you are faithful to that struggle, you will see more and more clearly your unique call to love. As you see that call, you will be more and more able to claim your real pain as your unique way to glory.

What real pain are you experiencing that is the result of divine pruning? The Holy Spirit may be clipping back twigs of pride that hinder you from being your authentic self around friends and family. Better to learn early on to let go of the fear of being thought less of now—than wait until the twig of pride becomes a branch and its removal feels more like an amputation than a snip. Relational conflict can make you feel alone and angry, but better to remove the twig of unforgiveness early than allowing the tension to elevate from anger to resentment to bitterness. Forgive or ask forgiveness fast, seek reconciliation and stay in the process of emotional healing.

Most of all, say yes often to Christ’s perpetual invitation to abide in Him. Maybe you’ve never met Him personally. He stands at the door of your life as a kind stranger waiting to come in for the first time so you can experience salvation from being estranged from Him in sin. Or, like a good neighbor you already know—Jesus is in your life waiting for you to experience with Him fulfilling conversations and a sweet spirit of solidarity. Pain from divine pruning today grows into luscious healing fruit for tomorrow. Say yes to invitations to make you more like Jesus! 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV).


Heavenly Father, I praise you for your life-giving invitations, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Consider not chasing after every opportunity, so you are available to say yes more frequently to life-giving invitations.

Related Reading

Isaiah 1:18; Mark 11:24; John 1:12; Revelation 3:20

Worship Resource

Elevation Worship: O Come to the Altar


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