One of my most favorite things to do is open up the Word of Truth and share it with other women, and that's exactly what I got to do this past weekend. I spent Saturday with the women of Grace Bible Church in Oxford, Miss., talking about what it means to abide in Jesus and how that plays out, practically speaking, in our everyday lives.
John 15:5 says this: "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Usually, when we talk about this, we talk about all the things that we do to abide. Those things are important—we can and should do everything we can to abide in Jesus day in and day out—but as I prepared to teach this time around, God kept reminding me of how much he does to help us abide.
I can't stop thinking about it.
I've been learning that my ability to abide in Christ isn’t based on my own strength, but on God’s. It’s by his grace and through his power that we abide. And since his power and grace is every bit as limitless as he is, it means that we will never run out of the strength necessary to abide and thrive in this life.
Hold on tight to that truth, friend. God is both able and faithful to sustain us. The sweet promise of the gospel is that Christ dwells in the hearts of the faithful, therefore the faithful must dwell in the presence of Christ because Christ is always with them. If you are in Christ, by the grace of God, you will abide. There is no other way.
God makes sure that we abide in countless ways: through the prompting and conviction of the Holy Spirit within us, through the careful pruning and tending of our hearts, through his living Word abiding in us and changing us from the inside out, through the encouragement of other believers, through enabling us to faithfully establish daily habits that draw us ever closer to him, and on and on and on.
He does all of this both for our good and for his glory. Because when we abide in Christ, we can't help but bear good, ripe fruit. Lots of it. And when our lives are abundant and fruitful, we glorify him. The goodness of our fruit points to the goodness of our Father. As it should.
The call to abide is a call to surrender. To lose yourself in the flow of God's grace. To let it wash over you day in and day out through the ordinary means of his extraordinary grace. To recognize that if you are his, then he abides with you. Always. Today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
Until next time, grace and peace.