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Friday, November 7, 2014

Abiding

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4, KJV). “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4, NIV). 

Abide. Remain. Whichever word we use, they tell us the same thing. We are to abide and remain in God's presence. It is there where we are transformed, and it is there where we find the sustenance which brings an abundant harvest in our lives. David Wilkerson in his book “Secrets of the Vine” wrote “Abiding is an act of faith―a radical expression that you value God's unrestricted presence in your life more than any immediate sensation. If you think you must always have strong feelings to know that you have been with God, you will go away from your devoted times disappointed. Before long you will say that 'Abiding did not work for me.'” 

Did you catch that statement? Abiding is an act of faith. If you want more of God in your life, you will “by faith” believe He will honor the time that you devote to seeking Him. It it true that the more you want Him, the more you find Him. You might also notice that David Wilkerson uses the word “devoted” time instead of “devotional” time. He does this to emphasize the fact that your time with God is one that should be “set apart” just for Him....devoted only to Him. Your time with God is not just a time to be stirred by a devotional, but a time to be changed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Abiding in God's presence is also not based on feelings. My time with God is the close intimate sharing of a deep personal relationship, and not the tingling sensation of a feeling. Sometimes there will a feeling of joyful wonder in the Holy Spirit, but sometimes not. In my “devoted times”, I draw closer to the the Holy Spirit so that He can transform and prune my life to bring a greater harvest. I will eventually reach a place where abiding in Jesus becomes more than just being with Him during a “devoted time”. My hunger will increase beyond bounds, and I shall discover the truth of what Brother Lawrence, a 17th century “lay Christian” had to say. “I do nothing else but abiding in His Holy presence, and I do this by simple attentiveness and an habitual loving turning of my eyes on Him. This I call... a wordless and secret conversation between the soul and God which no longer ends.” 

If I remain in Him, He will remain in me. If I want to live an abundant life for Him, I must deal with any sin that stands in my way with a relationship with Him. I must be disciplined by Him, and I must repent. If my life is filled with “selfish” things that keep me from discovering my potential in Hm, I must be willing to be pruned so that He can bring forth abundance in my life. In the times of discipline and pruning, He acts and brings pressure to bear to make changes in my life. In the time of abiding, I act.  I choose to abide in Him, and when I do, He abides in me. Abiding “works” in my life when I have allowed Him to discipline me if I have sinned. It works in my life when I have allowed Him to prune things that must be removed or prioritized. If my life is bearing fruit, I can enter into a “Brother Lawrence” spiritual state of abiding that brings a greater joy and assurance that nothing can destroy or touch. Abiding and walking in His Spirit becomes a way of life.

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