Abiding in Christ...What's It All about? (Part 2)

Abide in Me, and I in you... (John 15:4a)
Last week, we started considering the subject of “Abiding in Christ” as described in John 15 and other places. To read that article, click here.

Requirements of Abiding

I made the statement last week that abiding in Christ is something we have to actively do, not just something that passively happens to us. This is evident from Jesus’ command to his disciples to “Abide in Me.”
We obvious have to make the choice to do this. But what is required of us to abide in Him?

Abiding in Christ requires self-denial. Jesus said
…”If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NASB)
 I like the way that this reads in the New Living Translation:
…“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
To follow Jesus means to give up our own way! Remember what God said through the prophet Isaiah:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
Abiding in Christ means that we trade our selfish, human ways for His selfless, divine ways. It’s a great trade!

Abiding requires obedience. Jesus said to his disciples, “You are my friends, if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14) It does no good to say that we are followers of Christ…that we abide in Him…if we don’t do what He says!

Abiding requires quietness…This is surely one of the least-talked about aspects of following Christ. Even Jesus required a great deal of quiet time to keep in touch with His Heavenly Father. Do we really think we can get by with less to spend time with Him? It is imperative that we spend time each day in quietness before Him. Obeying Him not only means obeying what He said in the Bible (which is of course is vitally true) but obeying what He speaks to each one of us. Make no mistake…God still speaks today! He didn’t go mute when the last words of the Bible were written. Yet, we must be quiet enough to hear His voice as He speaks to us in our hearts.

Here are a few other things that abiding in Christ requires…

Abiding requires study…We need to know what He said in His word, right?

Abiding requires listening…Almost a lost art today.

Abiding requires patience…

Abiding requires endurance…

Abiding requires suffering…
Well, we were doing OK until we got to this one!
Remember that Jesus said that we are the branches, and He is the vine. He then said,
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)
Pruning doesn’t sound fun, does it! I can imagine if I were the branches and felt the pruning shears go over me, I wouldn’t be particularly happy. But the fact of the matter is as disciples of Christ, we are either going to get cut on or cut off! It is only the unproductive branches that don’t get pruned back. Rather than being pruned back, they get cut off, because they are serving no useful purposes. I would choose to be pruned because I am productive than to be cut off because I am unproductive…every time! This scripture gives me great comfort in that when I am feeling unproductive and useless, I am most probably being pruned because I am productive. That is a law of the kingdom.

Next time…we’d like to look at the flip side of this. There are real benefits to abiding…In fact, they are out of this world!

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