Abiding in Christ
A few weeks ago I preached on John 15:1-11 and you can listen to that here.
While there are many things that could be said about this abiding in Christ, here are two parts of Jesus’ command to abide in Him that stood out to me.
There are two parts to abiding in Christ; God’s part and our part.
There is much to be said here. God not only has accomplished our salvation, through Christ, but He is also the one that continues to accomplish our sanctification. In John 15:2 we see that God is the vine-dresser (or Gardener) that does the pruning. He doesn’t prune branches that aren’t producing fruit; He only prunes those who are already bearing fruit. This should bring us great encouragement!
God sees the flaws and imperfections in us and by His grace, He takes action and prunes us. While this is a gracious and merciful act, let’s be honest: pruning hurts! No one likes to be pruned but if we truly believe God is for us and pruning us for our own good (Phil. 1:6) then let me ask you two questions:
- How willing are you to be pruned each day?
- Do you truly trust God as He prunes you?
I have personally been in seasons, specifically in my marriage, where God has used difficult situations to actually mold me and change me into a more surrendered disciple. While these seasons never feel good, I can look back and see those trials now as a gracious gift from God. The older I get the more I strive to see trials as a blessing rather than a burden...but let's be honest, I don't always get there.
This is where we often get things twisted. Some lean way to far on God’s part and think there’s nothing they need to do in the midst of their own sanctification, but we read in 2 Peter 1:3-11 that we definitely have a role to play. Others will lean too heavily on “our part” and fall into a lot of works based theology, which is also not healthy (Eph. 2:8-10).
So, I believe a healthy balance of both is vital to faithfully abiding in Christ.
I would define our part as this: daily and intentionally finding ways to spend time with Jesus. This will can and should look different for everyone as they have their own unique walk with Jesus. At the core, there should be time in God’s Word, time in prayer, time with God’s people (fellowship, worship, celebration). There are many other spiritual disciplines that foster spiritual growth as well (silence, solitude, lament, fasting, etc.) In light of this, let me leave you with two more questions to consider:
- What daily and intentional rhythms have you put in place in order to consistently cultivate your relationship with Jesus?
- Look at 2 Peter 3-11 and then assess how well you’re doing in displaying those characteristics. Which one needs the most work? What will you do about it in the coming weeks?