Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Abiding Again

                This morning I found myself going back to a scripture passage that has been one of my favorites from the first moment I became a Christian. I adore them so much that I wrote a whole Vacation Bible School program for children out of these scripture passages. You would think since I have spent so much time studying these passages that I would have dug up all the treasures one could from them. But, our God is an amazing God, whose word is living and full of daily riches if we just listen and take the time to look. No matter how many times I read these scriptures, I am amazed at how He can show me things I have never seen before.

                “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:7-8
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                John 15 is one of my all time favorite chapters because I love the picture of Jesus being the Vine and me be the branch. It is a beautiful tapestry of love and obedience, and abiding. Lately, I have been struggling with some areas of my life. I have find myself frustrated, and beginning to worry about one particular area. I have been praying about this area for some time. My prayers have been more like pleas for help, but still, I have been before Him daily, asking and praying for His help. This morning I went before the Lord and asked Him again for His help. Sometimes I feel like a broken record before the Lord, daily asking Him over and over again for the same prayer to be answered. I wonder sometimes, if He is getting tired of me asking the same thing every day. I pray and ask Him for help, pray and ask Him for forgiveness for the areas of disobedience in my life, and ask Him if that is the reason why He is not blessing this particular area of my life. I know what His word says in regards to this particular area, and I believe that He will do as He has promised. But why hasn’t He done anything yet?
                As I was praying, the words of Jesus in John 15 came into my heart. He spoke to me the words of abiding and trusting, and hiding myself in Him. For me to go back to these scriptures was at first kind of difficult. I must be honest and tell you that I really had to pray for the Lord to show me something I had not seen before. I prayed for Him to show me what it was He was trying to say to me, because I was pretty sure I had dug up all the treasures there were to find already. (But, once again, He lovingly proves me wrong!)
                To abide means to continue and to remain. It is something that we choose to do. When we choose to abide in Jesus, we are choosing to put ourselves continually in His presence. We are choosing to remain as close to Him as we can possibly get. To abide in Jesus means that we choose to hide ourselves in Him, we choose to be hidden in Him. We become so hidden in Him that no one sees us, they only see Christ. One of my favorite Psalms that describes this hiding in Christ is Psalm 91. The Psalmist encourages us that if we hide ourselves in the Lord then He will protect us, guide us, deliver us, and satisfy our every need. There is nothing that we will lack when we choose to abide in the Lord.

                But there was more to this abiding than just remaining in Christ. The sole purpose of this abiding is to bring our Father all the glory. Jesus says that through our abiding in Him we will bear fruit. This fruit is what will bring glory to the Lord. Without abiding there will be no fruit. How we live our lives determines how we glorify the Lord. If we abide, if we remain in constant fellowship with Him and His word, then He will be glorified. The more we abide in Him, the greater our faith becomes. We grow in our faith and in our knowledge of Him when we abide in Him. The result of this abiding is the fruit of faith. Jesus says that it is “By this, My Father is glorified”. By our faith God is glorified. It is by our continual abiding that we are made more like Him and less like the world. If we do not have faith, then we are not abiding.
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                The reason why I am struggling lately with these areas of my life is because I am not choosing to abide. I am choosing to find other things (things He has told me to let go of) to fill my time. I do my morning devotions, I do my bible study, but there are definite areas of my life that I am not allowing Him to enter. I am not fully abiding. If we truly want to glorify God in all that we say and do, then we must choose to abide fully. We must abide not only in His presence, but in His Word. Nothing should ever take the place of His presence or His word in our lives. We need to shut it off, turn it down, let it go and abide.
                 For me, personally, the abiding that He is calling me into is a deeper, more constant state of abiding. I admit when my children were still living in the home, the look of abiding was much different than it is now. If I did get any time with the Lord it was limited. But our abiding is more than just reading His Word; it is a choice we make to walk away from those things that distract us from His purposes. It is a choice we make to keep pressing into Him when our prayers seem to fall flat. Abiding in Christ is choosing to shut it off, turn it down, and let it go so that we can go deeper into relationship with Him. The more I shut it off, the more I turn the distractions down, the more I let go of myself, the more fully I am able to abide.

                I pray today that these words will encourage you to abide. I pray that we will choose to shut it off, turn it down, let it go and abide in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Vine and we are His branches. Let us abide in faith so that our Father God is glorified. Let the fruit of our faith be seen as we abide in Him, today and every day. To You alone be the glory, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.