I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
I’m leading worship at a ladies conference this coming weekend where the theme for the event is “Abide.” Typically, in preparation for such weekends, I spend quite a bit of time studying the lives of various biblical characters in hopes to learn how they might have approached *insert theme*. I choose relatable passages of scripture and apply them to relatable choruses that compliment the topic. I then talk to people whose opinions I value and whom I think are spiritually wise and knowledgeable, and then I pray for a whole lotta wisdom. This is my typical M.O.
For this conference, however, I felt challenged to discover how the theme might apply to my day-to-day. If the definition of abide (according to Webster) is to stay, endure, dwell, reside, remain and bear without yielding… what could that look like for me, say on Monday at 2:13pm? Or Thursday at 7:59pm? Or at 5:47am when I’m awakened – Lord help me – to the screams of my ‘who needs sleep’ toddler? What does abiding look like then?
Have I mentioned how much I love my big ol’ down duvet?
When the phone is ringing, the washing machine is tumbling, the oven is beeping, the doorbell is chiming, the TV is blaring and, for the love, the kids are screaming, is there really any better place to be than nestled in my warm, cozy, inviting and always comforting duvet where I can disappear into its white fluffiness of pillowy goodness? From the second I hop out of bed in the morning, that enveloping spot starts beckoning my name to come right back in. Sigh…
Shouldn’t abiding in me be as inviting as your comfortable duvet?
When there is family drama and all I want to do is drive away, hang up and ‘leave conversation’ – abide.
When I check my VISA statement and there is an unexpected charge that makes me feel ill – abide.
When I look into the eyes of my beautiful friend suffering with cancer & there’s nothing I can do – abide.
When the well intended conversation I had hoped to have with my husband turns into WW50 – abide.
Because truly abiding in Christ means your pulse will take a moment to think before it starts to speed up. It means your thoughts won’t linger on the first negative, depressing and nay-saying thing that comes to its mind. It means you’ll think to bite your tongue before spewing out the first hurtful thing your pride desires to say. It means you might actually tuck that fist into your pocket before throttling it into the wall. It means you will be okay to walk away and not have the last word.
Abiding in Christ is exactly like walking around in a big ol’ protective duvet. It’s where you feel safe, warm, comfortable, cared for, content, satisfied, confident, welcomed and embraced. God’s duvet holds you in such a way that the second you leave, you will desire more than anything to turn around and crawl right back in. To choose to abide in Christ – and it is most certainly a choice – is one of our greatest acts of worship. It is to acknowledge that he is first and we are second.
When asked about what it means to ‘abide in Christ’, here are some of the answers from those ‘wise and knowledgeable people’ I mentioned in the opening paragraph…
Janelle: “A place of rest. To be walking with him in intimacy.”
Esther: “To be continuously filled by him. To draw everything from him.”
Connie: “To submit to him whatever happens.”
Erin: “It means him being my complete life source.”
Kevin: “To live in such a way that God’s spirit is like a lens or filter through which we confidently see ourselves, others, and the world around us.”