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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Abiding in Christ

John 15:4 (NASB) 4 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. -Words of Christ

Abiding in Christ... I have thought a lot about what it means to abide in Christ.  Many of us have.  Yet we have probably come up with lots of different ideas of what it looks like.  

Understanding what it means to abide in Christ will help us get back to basics.  However I in no way expect to cover the fullness of this subject here, I don’t think I could do it justice in this short letter.  Yet I want to share a few of my thoughts with you.

If a branch abides in the vine, it always remains connected.  If it becomes disconnected, it no longer abides.  It's really that simple.  For our spiritual wellbeing, we must endeavor to always remain in connection with Christ.

A vine (trunk) is where the nutrients originate.  It has all of the resources needed for the branches to thrive, yet if the branch become disconnected those nutrients never reach their intended destination.  The vine is still producing and supplying the nutrients needed, yet the branch isn't getting them because it has been pulled off, cut off, or separated in some way from the vine.

In our everyday lives there are so many things that tug on us, pulling us away from our connection to Christ.  There are a thousand things that try to cause us to ‘disconnect’ from Christ.  These things in themselves are not all bad, but they can be interference.  

Anything that interferes with our relationship to the vine (Christ) will impede our fruiting process and can even cause us to 'dry up'.   If we want to survive as Christians, we must remain connected to the vine... But we can do far more than just survive... God desires that we thrive!

I am sure you feel the same way I do, I don’t want to dry up.  I want to flourish in Christ!  So we must daily guard our connection to Christ, with all that is in us, and that is done only by intentional discipline. 

We have been studying discipleship lately.  Discipleship is not just a class we attend.  It’s a way of life.  We have to discipline ourselves to follow Christ in all things.  The scripture below is an example of what it looks like to discipline the mind.

Phil. 4:8 (NASB) 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever  things  are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,  whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It takes focus to remain in constant connection and communion with Christ, but the reward is to be a fruitful and flourishing Christian!  I’m sure that is what we all desire.

One more thought.  If we remain connected to Christ we also remain connected to one another because he is the vine that unites us all.

My prayer for you and the body of Christ today is that you abide in Him, and that we remain connected to each other. Lord, let us be fruitful and multiply in your Kingdom.

Blessings, Pastor Jerry