“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.”
-Jesus (John 15:4,5)
Abide is not a word that we typically use in modern day conversation. Merriam-Webster defines abide as ‘to stay or live somewhere; to remain or continue’. It is the very essence of connection. As strange as it might sound at first, Jesus has called people who claim a relationship with him to abide in him.
Being transparent, the week leading up to Easter was an absolutely horrible week for me. Although there were a few factors I could not control, such as alarms not going off or people blowing up in my face, as I reflected back on my week Saturday evening, I realized one overarching problem: ME. I couldn’t even believe how unlike Christ I was; I snapped at people with the smallest prompting, was bitter, gossiped, was judgmental and had a terrible attitude the whole week.
Not that I don’t struggle against those things on a daily basis-there is a reason I’m a sinner saved by a gracious Savior. However, anything I do struggle with was blown up exponentially, and any resistance I normally put up was gone. I sat in a coffee shop Saturday night struggling to comprehend why I had been so terrible all week long, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I had not been abiding in Christ.
You see, I am an utterly horrible person when left to my own agenda and desires. There’s no reason to deny it; without Christ, I am the most nasty, bitter and sinful person I know. Thankfully, he has saved me, and I am a new creation that is constantly turning from the chains that have bound me, but I desperately need the Holy Spirit each and every day to lead, guide and give me strength to fight against what’s trying to drag me back to spiritual deadness.
Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” I have a powerful God who has made me alive, and the Holy Spirit is continually driving me to pursue this new life more and more. Hallelujah for his saving grace!
If you are wondering how my terrible week could have been caused by a lack of abiding in Christ, let me connect everything. In my rushing and packed schedule leading up to Easter, I had neglected to take the time to focus on the love of my life, the most important relationship I have: the one I have with Jesus. I barely prayed unless it was for a specific purpose such as ministry, I didn’t take the time to really plunge the depths of what God’s wonderful word had to say and I definitely did not take the time to quiet myself and simply sit to meditate and listen. Workouts were prioritized, homework was prioritized and even ministry was prioritized, but the greatest priority and love in my life was pushed to the back burner.
That may seem innocent enough, but it became deadly to me. Remember those couple of lines I wrote a few paragraphs up about being a terrible person without Christ? It was extremely obvious to myself and those around me during that week. I wasn’t spending time daily abiding in Christ, staying in him, living through him, and therefore, I wasn’t acting like him.
Folks, you can’t truly come to know Jesus, the sweetest love of any human life, and gain an authentic, raw and growing relationship with him without coming, sitting at his feet and simply abiding. You can do things for him (my week before Easter was packed with ministry for crying out loud), but that doesn’t mean that you know him. Just like any beautiful human relationship, a relationship with Christ takes time spent together and focus on learning more about him.
As that happens, you become more and more like him, and the chains which strangle us start to fall. Nothing is better or more satisfying than walking with Christ and realizing that everything you do is starting to reflect him a little bit more each day. Even if it was through a terrible week that led to much confession and mourning of my sin, I am so thankful for the fact that God was gently reminding me how vital my relation
ship with him is, that he is the very reason I wake up in the morning, the reason I live my life. I’m going to abide in Christ because there is nothing so sweet and nothing else that can satisfy my soul like he does. Will you?