As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
The word abide in this passage means to settle down into, with the connotation of staying put, like immersing yourself in a deliciously warm bathtub! But it’s the idea of remaining there; continuously remaining connected to the vine. A dead branch on the ground, disconnected from the living plant, is not going to bear any fruit. It is imperative we stay connected with Jesus. Jude says to “keep yourselves in the love of Christ.” Keep yourself connected; this is a responsibility that you and I have. Thecommand is directed toward us, “You – keep yourself connected.”
Shamefully, I can do my bible study every day, and even pray, and do all the stuff Christians do, but totally fail to connect personally with the Lord. Sometimes that is because I’m hiding from him, like Adam and Eve in the garden after they’d sinned. I really don’t want to have that conversation I know he wants to have, so I avoid eye contact. But sometimes it’s just because I get busy and have stuff to do – the laundry or the to-do list starts calling my name, and I don’t take the time to settle down my mind and re-connect with him.
Our fellowship with him gets so easily broken. You know how it is: we live in this fallen world, and people don’t always act the way we want them to, and then we react “in the flesh”, with our own sin. Yet God told us to be holy because he is holy, and he wants to stay tight with us. Such a connection requires maintenance! For me, it seems like my little computer brain gets set back to default every night while I sleep. You know, I was living to please the Lord, but somehow I wake up all self-centered, and every morning I have to re-set my brain. I get into the Word and remember, “oh yeah, it’s not all about me; right, I gave my life to God.”
It’s so much easier, and more natural, to simply do my Bible study, talk my prayers, and then be up and running. But I have a supernatural God to connect with, and so I need to press in, and wait on him. Where we all lack, where we all miss the boat in our “American Christianity” is in abiding, in remaining connected in that personal, honest experience with Jesus – alive and real every day. Every problem, every fear, every dream and challenge is addressed there.
Set aside some time, after you get into the Word, to just sit with your Lord, your Lover, at his feet. Stop thinking, stop processing, stop telling him what you’re gonna do, and just be with him. Be listening. Enjoy his presence without agenda. You will find rest for your soul there.
“Jesus, give us the courage to come into your presence, alone. Your eyes burn right through all our pretenses and you know us so much better than we know ourselves, which is intimidating. But you have all the life and all the love and all the power. And not only that, you are pure satisfaction. We were made for you. We can’t really breathe without you. Spirit, draw us in close today.”
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