A couple years ago, our Sunday School teacher gave us a small canvas and asked us to come up with a single word along with a key scripture verse which would be our spiritual growth focus for the new year. We could use markers, paint, or any other media to convey that word on the canvas. We were given a deadline by which we were to have our project completed and plan to share our word with the class.
The picture above is my word, Abide, along with a simple image that together remind me of the Person (Jesus) in whom I am to abide daily. My key verse came from Jesus’ words in John 15:5 (ESV):
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.
Discipleship is not an occasional relationship with Jesus. It is a persistent, daily walk with Jesus. It requires connection to Him. Life comes from Him. Disconnection means death. A coal removed from the fire goes out. A branch broken off dies. Jesus reminds us in John 15:6 (ESV):
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.
Our fruit comes from connection. Our fruit is not self-produced. It comes from living daily in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The canvas and the verse remind me that I can do nothing without Him or apart from Him. All good I accomplish is because of Jesus and what He is doing in and through me. As a result I am careful to give Him the thanks and praise He deserves.
What can I do to strengthen my efforts to abide? Here are some thoughts:
- pray believing He listens and cares
- study God’s Word listening to understand who He is and how I need to adjust myself to Him and His will (with His help)
- watch for where He is at work in me and the world around me
- commit to follow Him and remain in growing personal relationship with Him
- struggle in all circumstances to obey Him
- be an example in word and deed to others along my path
- invest myself in the Bride of Christ (the Church) using the gifts I have received from the Spirit
- as a disciple, allow Jesus to make me into a fisher of men.
What would you add to this list? How are you doing at abiding in Him? What steps can you take to abide more this year? Abide in Him. Make disciples!