Americans are addicted to caffeine. How else do you explain a Starbucks on every corner. Before we face the day we need to get our cup of personality and drink it down.
Now, while I like the aroma of coffee, I don’t like the taste. I prefer Dr. Pepper. When I do drink coffee, I have to cover the coffee taste with sugar and a bunch of creamer (French Vanilla or Italian Sweet Crème).
Caffeine, though, isn’t good for our bodies.
Ever tried to quit caffeine, or just reduce your levels? It makes life miserable. You get horrible headaches and you can become irritable. That’s called withdrawal. Your body is craving that drug. So, to counter the agony, we reach for Excedrin, Advil, or we give in and grab that beautiful liquid central nervous system stimulant.
As Christians, though, we should be more addicted to Jesus than to caffeine. Where one can cause harm, the other gives life (Jesus, not the coffee).
The other day I read a passage that emphasized our need to get hooked on Jesus. Of course, it didn’t use the drug or addiction reference, but the sentiment was the same. Here’s the passage:
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
– John 15:1-11 (ESV)
As I read that passage, one theme stood out: “abide.” Throughout this text, Jesus is telling us to abide in him. Whatever we want to do, we need to abide in him.
Want to produce fruit? Abide in Jesus.
Want to love more? Abide in Jesus.
Want to improve your character? Abide in Jesus.
Want to grow and help others grow? Abide in Jesus.
There are two questions, though:
- What does it mean to abide?
- How do we abide in Jesus?
Those are the questions I hope to answer here.
What it Means to Abide
The dictionary defines abide as “to remain; continue; stay” and “to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.” Although this is an English dictionary, these definitions capture the meaning of the Greek word used here, μένω (menō).
To abide in Christ means to intentionally remain in an ever-growing relationship with him that transforms our character to be more like his.
Abiding in Christ means not giving up, but continuing on despite our doubts or hardships. Abiding in Christ means allowing God to work through us to transform us so that he can transform others through us.
So, how do we abide in him? Here are some tips that will help.
How to Abide in Christ
Pray regularly. Spend time with God in prayer, both telling him your concerns, dreams, hopes, and fears. Prayer also means staying quiet and listening to God’s voice.
Read and meditate on God’s word. I try to read the Bible every day. When reading, though, don’t just read quickly. Rather, ask God to teach you, challenge you, and change you based on his word.
Glorify God in everything you do. Find opportunities to praise and glorify God through your actions, even the small things you do.
Participate in church. Many people attend church, fewer intentionally participate. As we worship and serve alongside other believers, we’ll be growing in Christ and thus abiding in him.
Bringing It Home
If we want to produce fruit, grow spiritually, and be more usable by God, we need to abide in Christ. That means, to borrow from my previous church, we need to maintain a life-changing, ever-growing relationship with Jesus.
We accomplish this by spending time with him in prayer and in his word. We also live a life of worship, bringing glory to God in all we do. It also means we actively participate in serving God together with fellow believers.
What do you do abide in Christ? What helps you maintain a growing, personal relationship with Jesus? Share and comment below.
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To abide in Christ, I first acknowledge that the greater one in me is the Christ, the second Adam. The first Adam has left the building forever, and there is now therefore, no condemnation. I am free. I have a clear conscience to praise, commune and fellowship and with the life-giver, Christ, through His presence or through His word by the Holy Spirit. Communing with Him is paramount, and there is a constant desire to study His word. This desire has on occasion caused me to be late for an appointment, when a scripture comes to mind and I scurry to the computer to ‘search’ and find myself ‘caught up.’ When I am in that holy place, His abiding in me disconnects me from what this present-day Babylon has to offer: hypocrisy, pharisaical legalism, doctrines, material things, money, division, position, political ideology–death.