The Joy Of Abiding!

The other day I wrote about prayer and referenced John 15:7-8, one of the “ask me anything” verses. I’m still hanging around John 15. I can’t seem to get it stuck in my head about just how huge of a thing this is, and I keep coming back to it.

John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Then, let’s back up a few verses and look at these together, but in a different order.

John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

I reversed this order to show that whatever this business of bearing fruit is, it originates with Jesus. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Jesus is the one that initiated all this. This was his idea, not mine. If I’m worried about whether I will measure up, I have forgotten about who Jesus is and what he is capable of doing. Look, whatever he starts, he finishes.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Jesus began the job. He chose me. And that is evident from my new birth. I am born again. The old is gone; behold, the new. So, we see that what he starts, he finishes. Just what is Jesus capable of?

Colossians 1:16-17 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Jesus made everything. Everything. And, he’s the one that keeps the universe from either exploding or collapsing in on itself. From the vastness of space to the smallest of atomic particle, Jesus controls it all.

Do you doubt that he can make your life fruitful like he says? You shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. In fact, I should be positive that he will, so much so that I have extraordinary confidence in the promises of God. Right? People should know this about me. “That guy really believes!” That’s what people should say about me, and you, too. Doubt, where is the doubt? Who has time for that?

This mindset is what the business of “abiding” is all about. I read my bible and apply it. I learn it and live it. It becomes who I am. The promises of the bible defines me.

Isaiah 54:17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
    and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

I no longer do as I please but rather do all that I see Jesus doing because he didn’t do anything other than what he saw the Father doing. When I do other than that, it never turns out well. When I am doing my Father’s will – that which I see him doing and that which he instructs – then things go really well. I bear fruit.

This should make perfect sense.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

My desires aren’t what they once were. They have changed. That certainly doesn’t mean I have this all figured out and do everything I’m supposed to. But….it does mean that Jesus did choose me with the full intention and purpose of bearing fruit – and he will accomplish all that he intends. I may stray, but even that will be to my benefit in that God will use my error to teach me. He will guide me. He disciplines me, and for that I rejoice! Why? Because it proves that I am his. Check it out:

Hebrews 12:11 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

There’s that word “fruit” again! So, what is this “fruit”? When I look into it, I seem to always get pointed back to the same place, one I’m sure you are familiar with.

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

These are the things money can’t buy, folks. They are ours. We will bear fruit, because that’s what God intended. But, you know what? We have some ability to influence just how much we get. How? By knowing God. How? By knowing what he says and does. Watch and listen and do like he does. How do I know what that is? By knowing your bible.

We should be kind, compassionate, generous, and caring. We should love one another, remarkably so. Above all, we should teach others what Jesus taught us. Honestly, there is nothing you can do that is more loving, caring, and compassionate than to share the gospel. How could you truly care for someone yet hide the truth about eternity? If we don’t understand this, it proves that we have more to learn from our bibles. We have more opportunity to “abide” if Jesus’ words abide in us.

Now, we also know from our bible lessons that not everyone will like that we share the gospel. In fact, you may make sworn enemies because of it. That’s OK. “How can you say that?” you may ask. Simple.

John 15:18-19 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

This is part of Jesus’ plan. This is all part of how he “holds all things together.” (See Colossians, above.) If that doesn’t make sense to you, then rest knowing this:

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Of course, you will grieve when a loved one rejects you because you have shared the gospel. That’s natural because you love them. But, it’s far better to share the truth, as Jesus shared the truth, and be rejected than it is to hide the truth and lie in the process.

Nobody said it will be easy. Certainly, Jesus never made that promise. But, it’s far, far better to be rejected because of the gospel than to be friends with the world by hiding it.

I’m still working on that lesson, by the way.

Father, thank you for steering me to the right course today. Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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