Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Secret Of Abiding In The Vine

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire,
and it shall be done for you.
By this My Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples"
John 15:7-8
"If!" - The great condition to answered prayer and bearing fruit is an abiding RELATIONSHIP with Christ and His words. Abiding is all about the most important FRIENDSHIP of your life. Abiding doesn't measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible. In abiding, you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to ... a person. More abiding means more of God in your life, more of Him in your activitives, thoughts and desires.

If our need for this RELATIONSHIP is so deep and constant, why do so few of us fervently pursue it? One of the primary reason is that we don't really believe that God wants to abide with us even more than we want to abide with Him. God's longing for intimacy with His people has never ceased or changed, for this very desire is continually revealed in His Word, and reflected in Paul's passionate prayer,

[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17 - Amplified Bible)

He has made His passion known. God desires every born-again child to know Him deeply and intimately.

The Principles Of Abiding:

When we start with the PERSON of abiding and realize how much He loves us and wants us to share His life with us, we have taken the most important step toward the practice of abiding. Think again about the meeting place of vine and branch. Why would Jesus give us a picture of a living thing whose life force - the sap - is mysteriously out of sight? One reason could be that in abiding, what happens on the surface doesn't count; what happen inside does. Abiding begins with visible spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading and prayer. Yet it may shock us to find out that we can can do these things for years without abiding. After all, reading a book about a person isn't the same thing as knowing the person who wrote the book. The challenge in abiding is always to break through fom dutiful activities to a living, flourishing RELATIONSHIP with God.

Principle 1: To break through to abiding, we must deepen the quality of our devoted time with God

Devoted time in Biblical sense has to do with setting apart for God. In Psalm 27:4, David expresses his desire for this kind of time with God: "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."

Principle 2: To break through to abiding, we must broaden our devoted time - taking it from a morning appointment to an all-day attentiveness to His presence

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century lay Christian who worked in a monastry kitchen, described his practice of abiding in God: "I do nothing else but abide in His holy presence, and I do this by simple attentiveness and 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."

Abiding More And Doing Less - leads us to more results for God. These have to do with the benefits of abiding - what happens to us and through us when we consistently practice it:

1) Abiding helps us to sense the leading of the Lord - We learn to recognize God's "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12) and become familiar with His ways. Abiding helps us to accomplish more for Him because we are more in tune with His directions

2) Abiding helps us to tap into all of God's spiritual riches - In Acts 4:13 we read, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." When we abide, we are "with Jesus" and are filled with His Spirit and power

3) Abiding gives us the "rest" we need to bear a much greater yield and carries with it promise of answered prayer (John 15:7-8) - The element of dependence is why God is glorified when we bear fruit. If we achieved things for God, we would be glorified, not Him. But our incapability give Him a platform to work in the Spirit. He can work in an insufficient life to much greater honour than He can in a self-sufficient life. Our inabilities can be turned into an act of WORSHIP, if we'll offer them up to His power

Have you learned yet that your abiding on God - your manifest weakness, in fact - is an occasion for His GLORY? Let Him be honoured in you. Learn to abide.


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