THE ART OF ABIDING
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5
We recently got a new type of remote with the installation of our cable – the type of remote where you speak into it and it changes to the channel or media that you request. The funny thing is, I rarely use it. As convenient and advanced as it is – I prefer to navigate with the buttons and menus to my selection. In that same vein, I rarely use Siri on my iPhone. Why do I do extra work when something that is designed to make my life easier is also accessible to me?
Today, it struck me, I don’t use these features that were designed to help me be more efficient and arguably more effective because I feel better about keeping the navigation in my hands – though it’s slower and more work.
See, this is exactly what I do in my life. I’d rather navigate and manage my faith, life, and career on my own, rather than hand it over to a more capable, efficient, and effective God. I like to keep the navigation of life in my own hands – yes, even though it’s slower and more work.
And, as we’ve made the BIG move to Newton, Mass. to activate a church with a BIG vision and a BIG heart for the City, I found myself in this place of tension – pulling on my own resources, wisdom, knowledge, and skill in order to help my family feel adjusted to this BIG move. I found myself taking God-delivered career opportunities and layering it with my own navigational *skills*. All the while, I should be releasing this BIG move for a BIG vision to a BIG God – I held it too tightly to myself. More work on me, but I felt better being the pseudo- captain of this ship rather than sit back and watch it unfold.
The truth? My navigation is so inferior and it’s exhausting. My ability fits into a small piece of the larger vision – the only proper fit is to release and remain in a BIG God.
That’s exactly what John 15 speaks of – abiding in Christ. It’s the only way to “bear fruit” or to see *real* results.
Speak forth the promise of God, sit back, and let him work.
Speak your need, sit back, and let his Body – his people – respond.
When he says, “remain in me” or “abide in me,” he is asking us to…exist…and stay connected to him, and he promises to stay connected to us. And, a part of staying connected to him is staying connected to his Body – his Church – his people.
God never designed us to do this alone – without the community of believers – without the support structure of the Body of Christ…his Church…his people. There is a very distinct reason why God said that we should not forsake the assembly or fellowship of the Body –
because his Body is more capable, efficient, and effective than anything we can try our hand at alone. The results or “fruit” of my labor is limited, but it’s infinite when I choose to abide and stay connected.
I’m terrible at asking for help – if you haven’t already discovered that! I can’t even ask Siri for help! But, part of remaining or abiding in Christ is to lean into the community of people that he’s placed around me. Releasing the navigational controls means placing it in his hands and the capable hands of his people. What is authentic community, if we can be the support that we all so desperately need?
So, if you have one takeaway from this post, hear this…exist. Just abide and stay connected to God and his Body. And, if you’re seeking the type of authentic community that makes life and facing its challenges more efficient and effective – send me an email – I’d love to introduce you to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.