Tag Archive | Christian living

“Abide in Him?” What Does it Mean? Does It Mean to Pray and Obey More?

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

Yes, Christ is the vine, and we are the young branches in union with Him who are toldgrapevines to “abide.” However, the mistake we make so often when reading this passage of Scripture is that we immediately begin to try to figure out what we must do in order to abide when the point of the imperative being given here is simply that we are to receive. Thus, we miss altogether the indicative statement being made, and that is that all the nourishment we need to produce fruit comes from the vine (Jesus Christ), and not from ourselves. This must first be acknowledged before we will see the fruit of true obedience, an obedience that flows from the heart and is not just an outward action in an effort to conform.

Let’s consider the new growth on a grapevine. Obviously, the new growth is helpless and unable to do anything to support the vine from which it is attached. The tendril goes on to maturity, by resting there in union with the vine, receiving all that it needs to grow in strength, endurance, and fruitfulness from the vine itself. If it becomes separated, it’s fate will be death.

You see, it is not our ability to bear fruit that is the focus here. The emphasis is to rest in Christ’s ability and His dedication because of His amazing love for us, to transform us and produce the fruit He desires of us. This passage is all about Jesus Christ, and His promise of devotion and affection to produce in and through us, fruit. It is not about what we ourselves need to try to do, separated from Him. Christ clearly tells us, we can do nothing in our own efforts. However, as we know and abide in His love by believing Him concerning His love and what He has done for us, and as we expose ourselves to the Word of God, and rest in His promise  concerning what He is doing in us, we are continually cleansed (John 15:3) and we are guaranteed to bear fruit.

In other words, yes, we are called to obey God. Our love is seen in our obedience to Him. But,  our obedience is not a life of striving. The fruit of obedience doesn’t come before receiving the nutrients from the vine, which are only received if we are abiding. We abide by trusting wholly in Christ, not ourselves. True obedience is a by-product of what God has planted and is tending within us. We must leave our self improvement programs and efforts, and our tendency to trust in ourselves, and instead, trust fully in Jesus Christ. We must trust in His love for us, believing in what He has dJohn 15_9one and is doing in us.

We can believe and rest in our union with Him in order to absorb all we need to produce fruit as His life flows into us to nourish our souls. Jesus said, “I’ve loved you with the same intensity of love that my Father has for me” (John 15:9). Believe that this kind of love is possible and that it is yours.” Rest in this love and He will see to it that you bear the fruit He has intended for you.

Furthermore, notice I said “for you.” Each branch will bear the same kind of fruit, yet perhaps a different amount of fruit, according to the Lord’s desire and plan, so don’t get caught up in comparing your fruit to another, resulting in either condemnation or pride. Remember, to rest in His love and promise, and know it is His ability not yours, to produce fruit in your life. It is all about Him and what He has done and is doing.

I will close with this quote I love from Elyse Fitzpatrick which sums it up well. “We are eternally united to Christ, the true vine, and His fruitfulness is ours. Your obedience will grow because he’s your husbandman. Rest here. Endure here. Remain here. Tarry here. Abide”

 

 

Advertisements

Spiritual Growth:Be Like a Child

Becoming like little children who are creative and counter-intuitive, without self-consciousness –unafraid of what others may think of us – is key for genuine spiritual growth. We can’t truly walk in faith unless we care only what God thinks about us and unless we have a willingness to look foolish and be the unique person God created us to be. In fact, the more we grow up spiritually, the more we resemble a child, the more nonconforming we become, and the more passionate we become, because we are becoming more like Christ who Himself was  extremely passionate and an extreme nonconformist for that day.

Satisfaction – Dissatisfaction: The Choice is Yours

As we pursue God as first priority in our lives, His love satisfies our restless souls. On the other hand, ignoring God results in a loss of awareness of His amazing, unconditional love leaving us empty and dissatisfied. Therefore, you can choose to be satisfied or dissatisfied by choosing to pursue God or to ignore Him. What will it be?

Self-Improvement Versus Supernatural Change

Although we are instructed in 1Timothy 4:7 to “train ourselves in godliness,” it is imperative that we remember that our transformation is not merely a self improvement program. Rather it is a supernatural life dependent on Christ who dwells in us to give us desire, direction, encouragement, strength and power for the process.  Shall we take a look at our motives for doing what we do? Is it for Christ’s glory? Shall we examine our ways as to whether we pride fully do things in our own strength or do we depend on His love, power and will? No matter how much effort we expend or cost we incur, only that which is done for Christ’s glory and in the power of the spirit has any real significance. Only these will remain for eternity.  Everything else amounts to nothing. 

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1 NASB

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB

Our Desires – Where do They Come From?

Psalm 37:4 tells us that God gives us the desires of our heart and then fulfills them. The key is spending time with God so that we are motivated by the desires He gives us and not those that spring up from our flesh. Recently God has been showing me some things in my life that have taken His place and resulted in my falling into this deception myself.  The deception that our desires will be godly without keeping God first in our lives through bible reading, prayer and meditation. How about you? Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, allowing Him to give you everything He desires. Or, are you seeking  things in place of Him? If you want desires that come from God, spend time with God. He will impart His desires to you and then He will bring them to pass in your life. God is always waiting for us to run back into His arms. He is quick to forgive and restore that which has been lost as we refocus our attention on Him. Please share your comments as to the distractions we all need to guard our lives from that rob us of God’s best. And, please share any helpful tips you might have for us.