“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “–John 15:7
My soul wants to go the way of the weed.
My soul is often lazy and does not want to change.
My soul often gets things backwards and chases after the wrong thing…
Hence the importance of learning to abide in Christ rather than just talk about it.
Abiding in Christ doesn’t just happen. We have a direct role to play, even if we are branches.
The discipline of an abiding life is to hang on to Christ–to stay connected to the vine and to continue to receive the power of the Spirit who enables me to bear fruit in what I have received. Taking hold of and not letting go of truth enables me to grow in it.
- As I am connected with Christ and I take hold of His words, I begin to ask for the kinds of things that God plants in my heart.
- My desires begin to line up with the truth. Requests in prayer grow from a heart connected to truth. Organic. Fusion.
- The desires of my heart and the prayers of my soul begin to reflect that which pleases God. My wishes are transformed, changed by the grace of Christ.
Inspecting the Fruit
Another discipline of an abiding life is to resist the temptation to be a fruit inspector, to pass judgment on what I am learning and how well I am keeping what has been learned. Have you ever wished that your fruit looked different? That you had a different gift? Have you ever struggled with the blight of inspecting your fruit and seeing what is lacking rather than what is blossoming? This is our need to rest in the vine and let God bring forth what pleases Him.
When I am abiding, my focus is on what Christ is doing, what He is saying. This is key to avoiding the fruit inspector’s dilemma.
Some days this hits hard on my heart that longs to see the completion of fruit now growing. Confidence that God will finish every good thing that He starts is a discipline that I sometimes struggle with.
It’s so easy to look at what is growing today and compare myself with a branch more mature. I see the gap and pass judgement…
I will never be this…
I could never do that so well…
All the while losing the perspective of Paul when he writes,
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”–Philippians 1:6
What God is growing in and through my life is unique to me. Just as no two snowflakes or two fingerprints are the same, each work that God is doing in each of us is unique.
Indeed it takes discipline of faith to let go of the temptation to be a fruit inspector.
An abiding life continues in the Word and grows little by little into the vision God has for the vine—this is the unforced rhythm of Grace.
It is the discipline of an abiding life that enables me to…
” walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”