G & F Episode 2: Abide
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This week we’re discussing THE most practical thing that a Good and Faithful servant can do. We’re talking about learning how to abide in Jesus.
Jesus says to us, “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” (John 15:14-15 ESV). Put simply, unless we learn to abide in Jesus, we will ultimately fail in our endeavors to be Good and Faithful.
But how does one abide? Let’s look at the analogy Jesus uses.
The vine precedes the branch. All the so-called work of the branch is really just an extension of the work of the vine. The branch does not cause the vine to produce fruit, the branch provides the means through which the vine can burst through with its fruit. In other words, abiding is not something we initiate or even really maintain. It is ultimately in the hands of God.
What then is our role? Well, “we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16 ESV)
We abide by believing in our Master’s love for us and learning to fall deep in love with Him. Consider the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt 22:38-39 NASB)
There is nothing better for a Good and Faithful servant than to learn how to love the Master and all those whom He loves. So, the most practical thing one can do is to learn how to abide in Him by learning how to love Him.
But how do we learn to love Jesus? A simple place to start is to get to know Him by reading what He has already chosen to reveal about Himself. Go read your bible. Don’t make it weird. You don’t need a commentary. You don't need a pastor to read it for you. Just pick it up and read it. Don’t know where to start? Start in John’s Gospel. As you read it, keep this in mind. In it, Jesus says, “all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b ESV). Whatever you read Jesus saying or doing, He is doing it to reveal the heart of God to you. And here’s the best part, when you don’t quiet understand something, this is the perfect time to start asking Him to show you. Which leads us to the second place we look to learn who Jesus is and continue falling in love with Him; Creation.
The vine analogy isn’t the first time Jesus references Creation to describe His relationship with us. He tells us to notice how God takes care of the birds and how He has clothed the fields. He tells us to pay attention to how parents naturally treat their children. He mentions how the skies mark times and seasons. This is because God has intentionally made all of Creation point to Him. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom 1:20 NKJV).
Now, I’m not saying we start worshipping Creation. But rather, just as we can grow in our knowledge of God through faithful study of the Scripture, we also grow in our knowledge and intimacy of God through our study of His Creation. Let me give you an example of an exercise I do to help me learn to abide in His love.
Something I like to do regularly is stand outside, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. I listen and I hear the birds of the air. I feel the wind blow against my cheek. Then I open my eyes and see the beautiful sky. In that one moment I’m reminded of all this: God feeds the birds of the air (Matt 6:26), His Spirit moves as it pleases and I know not how (John 3:8), and the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-4). And suddenly, I find myself keenly aware that God is with me and He is for me and that I am in Him and He is in me (John 17:20-23).
If you’ve gotten this far, and you still feel like you don’t actually have a “how,” you may have missed it. Until you know how to abide, there is nothing more practical for you to do than to learn how. When we learn to abide by falling in love with Jesus, our lives become an extension of that love. You won’t miss what God has for you to do because you’re following close behind Him. Spend time getting to know Him through Scripture and through your interaction with His Creation (hint: that includes people too. He created them in His image). After all, is there really anything better for us to do than to abide in Him?
If you’re still looking for greater clarity on the subject, listen to the podcast! I dive into the subject a lot more. You can also check out the FB Group and follow us on IG. No matter what, don’t get discouraged. Even if you’re just getting started in your walk with Jesus, just remember that you ARE the Good and Faithful!
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