When we decide to “figure out” our schedules or set a new plan, one of the first steps is assessing our priorities. Where does abiding in Christ fit in that list? Spoiler alert :: Abiding in Christ isn’t the number one priority. It is THE priority. Abiding isn’t a checkbox at the top of the list, it’s the only thing on the list.
”The degree to which you connect everything in your life to Christ
is the degree to which you will experience everything God wants you to have from Christ.”
— Dr. Tony Evans
This week’s quote in the Faithful Life Planner reminds me of a “faith-nurturing moment” I had with my youngest daughter earlier this year.
Our conversation came a few days after her 4-year old self brought me some flowers from our garden. She and Daddy had cut them fresh, and we put them in a big vase in the center of our kitchen table to enjoy every time we sat down together.
But a few days later, as cut flowers do, they began to droop and brown at the edges. Petals dropped slowly, and our once-beautiful flowers now looked withered and sad. Our flowers were dying.
My daughter couldn’t understand how something so fresh and alive could turn into this!
I explained to my daughter how those beautiful, flourishing flowers blossomed and grew outside because they were connected to the vine. Inside, even though we put them in water and gave them proper sunlight, they didn’t remain connected to the source of their life — and without the source, they didn’t receive the life-sustaining nourishment they needed. Without remaining connected to the vine, they no longer received the sustenance that kept them growing, thriving, and — living!
The same is true of us. As followers of Jesus, we are called to abide in Christ. In John 15, Jesus gives us a similar picture saying He is the vine, and we are the branches. Growing fruit is a result of abiding in Christ.
Do you want to be more loving? More kind? More patient or self-controlled? Stay connected to Jesus! This is the fruit that comes from abiding in Christ.
Jesus even goes so far as to say, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Nothing!
Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t go about our days and accomplish goals. We can, and we do. How often we neglect our time in the Word or prayer in an effort to rush around getting things done or pursuing our desires!
What I think Jesus means here is that apart from Him, we can’t do anything that’s worth something! Apart from Him, what we do has no lasting value!
I don’t know about you, but I want the things I do to matter. But so often I’m looking at the things I need to do rather than the One who calls me to do them. Inevitably, then, we let busyness, distractions, or other priorities cut us off from the Vine. Instead of abiding in Him, we depend on ourselves (or our circumstances, our “systems,” or any number of things we think will come to our rescue and solve our problem).
Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. We’re like those flowers, cut from the stem, unable to flourish or even sustain life. We don’t always notice the withering inside us — it can happen so slowly; it’s almost imperceptible to us. Until one day, we realize, we’re shriveling inside. We don’t have the life and vibrancy we once did. We aren’t abiding.
Abiding in Christ isn’t the number one priority. It is THE priority. Abiding isn’t a checkbox at the top of the list, it’s the only thing on the list.
”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.”
– Jesus // John 15:4-5
Do you have questions about what it means to abide or how to abide? Let me know in the comments or send me a private message on Instagram. I would really love to help.
By the way — We are revealing the new covers of our 2020 Faithful Life Planner live on Wednesday!! Click here to gather with us — and invite a friend to join us, too!
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