Abide. It has such a lyrical, poetic sound to it, yes? Like you’re curling up in a large nest of down feathers- safe and secure and seen.
It’s my favorite word these days. Not only for it’s ring, but its definition: To stay or live, to remain or continue. Or, as I’m celebrating Abide: to keep on keepin’ on. Because couldn’t we all use encouragement to stay the course, to maintain focus, to hold on tight to He, Who offers the source of hope, love, peace, and forgiveness?
What’s beautiful and rest-offering about abiding in our Father, is that it takes pressure off of us to do, to perform, to check one more thing off the list, and simply invites us to be. To curl up in His arms and remain. Can’t you feel your shoulders rest at the thought? Don’t we all crave a space to come and simply be?
When I abide in Him, I draw from His goodness, His perspective, His power to transform. When I choose to abide in Him, I can say whole-heartedly, Jesus, I trust Your process more than my circumstances, and I know whether in “want or plenty,” You are enough.
Confession: When I read the verse in John 15, I think, Ya, ya, ya, I’ve heard it, I know. But I forget the simplicity of what it’s saying. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
And then I think, I can do stuff on my own, I don’t have to abide in You. But I lose the heart of what God is saying. I sure as heck can do stuff without remaining in Him; it just won’t be lovely or life-giving. And what good is that really, if it’s just a version of my truth, instead of His perfect Truth? I’m a sad imitation of the real deal, folks.
It’s evident in the life I live, that the type of fruit I produce has everything to do with where I go for Life. If I live in selfishness, chasing only my dreams, what’s best for my family, and what’s comfortable for lil’ old me, I produce selfish, small fruit. It’s still fruit, but it lacks heart. Or, as Andrew Murray says in Holy in Christ, “However strong the branch becomes, however far away it reaches round the home, out of sight of the vine, all its beauty and all its fruitfulness ever depend upon that one point of contact where it grows out of the vine. So be it with us too.”
I think of my friend Becks who is a true Abide-er. She resides, she literally makes her home in the crook of Jesus’ arms. She talks and listens to His Spirit, not because she tells people, but because her life so authentically reflects Him. She sees others through His lens. She motivates and encourages and elevates others, and doesn’t have to puff herself up in the process. She grows delicious fragrant hearty fruit, the kind that hangs close to the ground, so heavy are it’s branches, that all who come near her are welcomed, and come away full and satisfied and thankful for having met the Savior wearing her skin.
You want to know if you’re abiding in Life? Your fruit will reflect Life- it will sing of truth and grace and love. And the best part, is that it will be through His transforming ways, not your human attempts.
So abide. Cling. Remain. Stay the course. Don’t go weary if you don’t see results, or are confused by how God is moving. He is working. Authentic faith is grown slowly, abiding day after day, as His heart grows our roots deep and strong and secure to hold the fruit He longs to create in us.
*This post is also featured on Atascadero Bible Church’s Women’s Ministry Blog here.