My Little Jar of Manna (Part 3 of 3)


February 18, 2013

Two weeks ago we started a series of three devotionals around the phrase “all behavior has meaning.” We’re focusing on why care receivers (and us too!) can continue to choose dysfunctional behaviors, especially when those behaviors leave us scratching our heads.

So what do we do when we find ourselves holding jars of stinky manna? Well, if our experiences led us to this place, then experiences will lead us out.

For the Israelites, they hung in there. Eventually this people group made it to the Promised Land. It was a difficult journey, but they made it. They had the opportunity to see God continue to provide for them through a series of events, and they eventually experienced the ultimate form of providence as they entered the Promised Land.

But it was a long journey.

How about for us? How do we hang in there, when all we want to do is hold onto our jar of stinky manna? Again, if experiences led us to this place, experiences can lead us out. Namely, experiences with Jesus. As we regularly practice and experience the presence of Jesus, we can stay on a journey in which Jesus redeems the experiences of our past and moves us through the process of sanctification.

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (John 15:1-8 NLT)

Jesus calls us to “remain in him.” The Word Biblical Commentary states that Jesus calls us to “step into union with (him)1.” What a beautiful, intimate picture. When we have those times where we are holding tightly to our jars of manna out of fear, anxiety, anger, etc., he calls us to remain or step into union with him.

The beauty of this call is that not only does remaining in him position us for sanctification, it also allows us to remain in our everyday lives which may be full of anxiety/anger/fear inducing circumstances. By practicing his presence we experience his love and grace and may even find ourselves letting go of our jars of manna because in his presence there is hope, peace, and freedom.

For consideration:

-          Do you have a jar of manna that you are clinging to our of fear, anxiety, anger, etc.?

-          Do you take time to practice Jesus’ presence in your day to day life? Could you take time today to practice his presence?

-          What might happen if you set aside a few minutes each day to stop and practice Jesus’ presence through a time of silence, meditating on an encouraging scripture verse, or practicing a breath prayer?


[1]Beasley-Murray, George R.: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Dallas : Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 36), S. 276

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