Abide in Me
Picture your life sort of like driving a car down the street. When you invite the Lord into your heart, that's like you picking Him up and letting Him in your car. Then at some point along the way, He eventually says, "You know what? What I really want is total control." He wants you to move to the backseat and let Him permanently take over the steering wheel.
Now, this is a process. That is, we are changed constantly by the Holy Spirit as we become more sanctified, more like Christ. But the aim is for Christ to settle down and make Himself at home in our lives, so that the longer we walk with Him the more mature we become, the more controlled by the Holy Spirit we become. I touched on some of the concepts in John 15 last week, but I want to take a closer look at Jesus' analogy of a vine and a branch.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (vv. 4-5).
What does it mean to abide in Jesus Christ? It's to maintain a constant, living communion with Jesus. That is, your relationship with the Lord is close, you're tied, you're welded, and it's consistent. You're receiving from Him, you're praying to Him, you're getting direction from Him, you're close. In other words, you're not letting anything come between you and Him.
It sounds simple, doesn't it? But it's not that easy to do, because we so often misplace our priorities. We get up too late in the morning and don't make time to hang out with God. This carries on for a few days, and then we find that we can function as a Christian without spending a whole lot of quality time with the Father. But eventually, we wither more and more because we're not getting constant nourishment. Remember, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6), not "Blessed is the man who gets a spiritual cheeseburger once a week and snacks on it." If God is important, schedule Him in. Set aside time to be alone with the Father and seek Him, to read, feed, and pray. Maintain a constant, living communion with Him.
This is a gradual process of sanctification, and we are all still going through it. Our character is still being developed. My prayer is that, if you haven't already, you would move out of the driver's seat and let Jesus Christ take over the wheel, and that by yielding to Him, allowing Him to have control, and abiding in Him, you would be changed and filled afresh with His Spirit.
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