“REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU.” 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16
We are so glad to have you with us during this four-week study through God's Word! Last week we took a look at the importance of prayer as a personal, intentional communion with the Lord. Talking to God is a two-way conversation, and He always listens. Regardless of our situation, we can always find comfort in Him through prayer.
Check out Part 2 of our study to refresh your mind and heart:
In Part 3, we focus on abiding in the Lord and how to do that through daily practices. As we reflect on what God calls us to do in all circumstances, we pray that you, too, find the love, hope, and encouragement that only Christ can provide.
In all Circumstances: Abide in the Lord
"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. 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." John 15:4-5
Jesus often uses metaphors and parables to help us understand many different aspects of our faith. John 15 gives us a vivid representation of what our relationship with Christ should look like.
With Jesus as the true vine, the Father as the vinedresser, and us, the disciples, as the branches. He describes how the branches cannot bear fruit without abiding in the vine. Any branches that do not abide and do not bear fruit are thrown away by the vinedresser and burned. However, the branches that abide and bear fruit are pruned and tended, as to bear more fruit.
What does it mean to "abide?"
Abide, literally, means to 'stay' or 'remain.' To abide in the Lord means that we continually receive, believe and trust that Jesus is everything we need.
As disciples, our faith will always be put to the test. That test may look like years of prayer that is always answered with, "Not yet," or being thrown into a world of uncertainty or chaos. Regardless, we must remember that Jesus is the source of true life and peace.
When we abide in Jesus, we remain steadfast as we walk in Him, depend on Him, and are intentional with acts of faith.
Walk in Christ
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7
When we repent and give our lives to Christ, we enter a union with the Lord. Not only do we want to be saved through Him, but we desire a relationship with Him. Our connection with Jesus is what brings us life.
When we walk in Christ, we are allowing His word to lead us by following His light: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105) We are following the gospel and preaching it to ourselves daily, perhaps also asking ourselves, "How can I be faithful to God today?" or, "What can I do to shine a light for His glory?"
We learn these things through Scripture, the living Word of God. We strengthen our relationship with Him and better walk with Him through the gospel, which is exactly why He revealed His word to us. In all circumstances, we can strive to be Christ-like in our walk and bring glory to His name.
Depend on the Lord
"But he answered, 'It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4
Just as a branch is dependent on the vine, we are dependent on Jesus to sustain us and give us life. His word is living and active. Without it, we are like the lifeless branch that is thrown away. In John 15, Jesus is specific about sustaining us through the flow between vine and branch:
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you...As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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." John 15:7, 9-10
His word is the only path we can follow for us to truly live. We can never live fruitfully or glorify Him if we do not recognize our dependence on Christ. Once we recognize this truth, we can experience complete joy.
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11
"And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17
We can abide in the Lord every single day by making intentional decisions to be faithful to Him. This may look like dedicating time to read Scripture or pray, being in community with the Church, and rejecting temptation to fight sin.
It is so easy to get caught up in the challenges and busyness of every day life and forget to be intentional with our faith. Making a point to be faithful glorifies God and nourishes our spirit in Him. When we know God, we can live intentionally according to His plan for us with daily practices of prayer and worship to best glorify Him.
Romans 12:2 reads, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Living intentionally sets our hearts on God and protects us from being consumed by the stresses of the world that might cause us to forget.
In every season of life, we can remain steadfast in our walk in Christ, dependence on Him, and living intentionally. When we do these things to abide in the Lord, we are trusting His plan and purpose for our lives. We are living by faith and not by sight. We believe the truth of God's promise that we are saved through His Son, Jesus Christ.
We can bring glory to God in all circumstances by abiding in Him and bearing fruit according to His mission. Jesus said, "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." (John 15:8)
How can I abide in the Lord today?