Abiding in Christ
This past weekend our BCM had the amazing opportunity to attend the Christian Evangelism Conference that took place in Louisiana College in Alexandria. I always love CEC and definitely look forward to it every year. It reminds me a bit of what heaven would be like, honestly. All of us coming together, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, coming to a sacred place free of distraction of the world, and getting close with our Lord and savior. One of the sessions that the Lord put on my heart was “Abiding in Christ”.
What does it mean to abide in Christ? What should it look like in our lives and the lives of fellow Christians? The answer is nestled into John 15, but I believe in a different way than what we immediately tend to think. Let’s explore it, shall we! John 15:5 states, “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”. This is one of the most well-known verses in the bible, yet most miss the central message that it conveys. When looking at this verse, many Christians come to the conclusion that our only job is to bear fruit. We believe that the more fruit we produce, the closer we are to God, and then the more we’ll abide in him. Would it shock you if I were to say that our job is not to produce fruit? When we tend to focus more on fruit bearing, we start to measure our life in terms of success and try to earn favor with God. This verse is not saying that in order to abide in Christ we must bear fruit; instead the verse’s central point is that fruit bearing is a RESULT of abiding in Christ. We can see this in verse 4 when it says, “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”. Fruit bearing is not something you can produce alone, nor is it what we are to focus on. Our job as Christians is to abide in Christ and spend time focusing more on what that means. So what does abiding in Christ actually mean? Let’s skim down to verse 10 and see what John has to say about it. Abiding in Christ is obeying God’s commands, not only knowing and obeying biblical principles. We need to know who God is, not just about him. We get to truly know God through experiencing him. This can seem a little overwhelming, but God doesn’t expect us to do this all by ourselves. He has given us a wonderful gift: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives, teaches, and guides us every day to know who God is and how to obey him. He is the key to understanding how to abide in Christ. Learning who God is through the Holy Spirit helps us to read the word and know how it applies to what we’re experiencing daily. By abiding in Christ our lives begin to change. What if I told you that our lives would be immensely more joyful and purposeful when we get to fully know and abide in Christ? Life would be authentic, organic, joy-filled, communal, and benevolent. Authentic in how we approach Christ, not just putting on a fake face every time we talk to him. Organic in our relationship with him and realizing that everything we are and will become flows from God’s core. Joy-filled in purely enjoying and craving God, the church, and the community. Community in not only meeting fellow brothers and sisters once a week at a Sunday School class, but finding a group of believers and pouring into them as they pour into you. Benevolent in sharing Christ to others and investing in them, showing people how truly AMAZING God is and yearning for people to know and experience God like you do. This kind of life is extremely enticing and is certainly not impossible to get to. My prayer for us all is to get to this point with our relationship in Christ. Thankfully we have an amazing God that actively pursues us every day so that we can get to know him and experience him; and trust me.. your relationship with him won’t disappoint.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the NSU BCM but are solely those of the author(s).