"A love relationship with God is more important than any other single factor in your life." - Henry Blackaby
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ABIDE IN CHRIST?
(Adapted from Unburdened:Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live Through You by Vance Pitman.)
Following Jesus is all about relationships. First and foremost, following Jesus is about an abiding relationship with Him. It’s about that wonderful, intimate fellowship between you and your Savior. And if you think that sounds kind of simple, you’re right! It’s supposed to be simple.
The sad truth is that we in the church have been overcomplicating what it means to follow Jesus for centuries. We’ve burdened ourselves with rituals and traditions that go way beyond what Jesus asked of His early disciples and what He asks of us. Worse, we’ve burdened ourselves with religious expectations that pull us away from Jesus rather than allowing us to enjoy time with Him.
What we’ve made complicated, Jesus made simple in the Gospels. He even summarized the whole thing by simply walking into a vineyard and picking up a branch that had broken loose from a grapevine: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so 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, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15: 4–5).
Simplicity. Jesus summed up the whole dynamic of being His disciple with one little word: Abide.
What good is a branch without the vine? It’s no good at all, right? If you break the branch off a vine, the branch is useless by itself. It can’t do anything. In truth, the only thing the branch is good for is holding on to the vine. And only in holding on to the vine does the branch produce fruit.
The invitation to follow Jesus isn’t an invitation to live for Jesus; it’s an invitation to abide in Jesus and let Him, out of the overflow of that relationship, live His life in and through us in a way that produces fruit for His kingdom.
Are you abiding in Christ? Is your experience of following Jesus all about abiding in Him? Are you following Jesus in a moment-by-moment love relationship that’s the center and source of everything else in your life? Or have you relegated following Jesus to a few hours of activity each week?
As a Jesus follower, your identity is not in what you do. Your identity is in who you are in Christ—a loved, accepted child of the Father enjoying a fellowship relationship with Him. Great freedom is in understanding and enjoying the difference!