There is so much to do in a day. So many choices we have to make about how to spend our time, there is no way we can do everything that clamors at us. Life can be overwhelming.
I used to think everything could be balanced. Balance is a subliminal message from the world, the idea of it is allusive no one can live continuously perched on top of a beam. No one can walk around trying to balance a tower of spinning plates. Balance isn’t a realistic expectation.
Thankfully we know the Master Planner and it says in Ephesians that he had plans for us before the creation of the world, He knows the steps we should take. He leads us in paths of righteousness. He is the light to our path. He knows the way we are to walk, so with all the things vying for our attention, there is somewhere we can turn every day for directions on how to spend the precious time we have. Someone who can gently lead us to where the bulk of our energies should go.
This is why abiding is precious to me. Because it is in abiding daily with Jesus that I get my directions for my minutes. It is because of the confidence that his ways are best and that he will give me what I need for each day that I surrender to him each morning. It is in his word and conversation with him that peace lies and chaos becomes order and next steps are clear.
“‘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.’”
Nothing. This is so powerfully convicting and sweetly reassuring. Why do I even try to live my life apart from my Savior? Why do I try and tackle the chaos on my own? Maybe I can manage it for awhile but it doesn’t last, eventually life gets the better of me and I crumple under the pressure. Yet with Jesus, with his peace, direction, purpose comes clarity and the strength to persevere.
Abide in John 15 means to live or dwell. The picture of being a branch connected to a vine is one of continuous need. A branch cut off from the vine dies and is thrown into the fire. We must live dwelling every day in the presence, plan, purpose, words of our Savior. This is where life is lived. This is where purpose is accomplished. This is where we see God’s glory. This is it – the secret to living a full, intentional life is found in abiding in Jesus.
Abiding isn’t a prison sentence, it isn’t a burden that we must bear. To check in with God every day and get our assignments like an overbearing parent or boss. Abiding with the Creator God, Shepherd Jesus, Truth teller Spirit is an honor and the very thing that our weary, human selves need.
“”As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.’” John 15:9-11
It all begins with love from our Heavenly Father. We have done nothing to merit his love yet he pours it out on us. In this love we get to abide as we walk in obedience, following Jesus’ example of walking in obedience with his Father.
I love my children and my intentions for them are for good, always. I feel I am a loving mom, I love to show them my love, give them good things. They are children and they need training and direction. They need my perspective on life. When I speak, I expect them to listen and obey. I don’t love them because they obey, I love them and desire them to obey, because it is for their best. My love isn’t conditional on their obedience my love is constant no matter what they do I will always love my girls, but whether they get to live experiencing, feeling that love is dependent on their obedience because disobedience separates me from them. When they disobey there are consequences and time outs and when they decide to come and ask for forgiveness then it is granted with hugs and snuggles and fun things like ice cream.
This is like our heavenly Father. He so desires us to walk in, dwell in, abide in his love through obedience. We obey because we love and trust him back, we obey because he has proven himself faithful and his way sure. We obey because he is the Father, we are the child he knows what we do not and his ways are always best.
My heart screams abide. It screams it to me, it screams it to you. If there is nothing we get from this study of John I pray it is this – that we choose to abide daily in Jesus. Connected to him. Getting our very life from him, because apart from him is nothing. But in him is everything.
- Can you compare a day when you chose to wake up abiding in Jesus, surrendering your day to him to a day when you didn’t? What was the difference?
- What areas in your life today do you feel chaos, will you abide in Christ through prayer and studying his word today asking for clarity and wisdom for those things?
- Write down a list of good things we receive when we abide in Christ. Meditate on this today.
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.