Romans 11:16-24 (NIV)

16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits1 is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off,2 and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others3 and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.4 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”

20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.5 Do not be arrogant,6 but be afraid.7 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness8 and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue9 in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.10 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.11 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree,12 how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Romans 11:17 (NRSV)

17 If some of the branches have been broken off,1 and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others2 and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,                            

DEVOTION – Karline Fischer (California)

Once my father grafted a pear-tree into an apple tree.  First  he cut a thick branch off of our apple tree, creating a flat surface on the trunk.  Then he cut a slit on the flat surface and placed the pear branch in the slit.  Finally, he covered it with tar, so the graft could attach to the apple tree.  In time, the grafted branch produced fruit that looked like an apple but  tasted like a pear.

After seeing this process, I understood the Romans 11 verse much better.  When we come to salvation, the Lord cuts us off from our old way of life and grafts us into the family of God.  Jesus’ dying on the cross opened the door for us to be adopted into the new family.  We receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.  We are also added to Christ’s church (see Acts 2:47) – a spiritual family, and accountability essential for healthy growth and fruitfulness.

Each of us needs to belong to a community of faith.  If we are a new believer or someone new to a particular church congregation, we may find it difficult to get connected and established.  However, the Lord will graft us into a church family if we stay patient with the process.  As we grow, we will produce love, joy, patience, and other fruit of the Spirit.  (See Gal. 5:22.)

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Through Jesus we have been grafted into God’s family.

PRAYER: Redeeming God, help us to grow as we are established in  achurch family.  Amen.