Abiding In the Life-Giving Vine

How was your summer? Were you overwhelmed with busyness or struggles? Did you have any soul-refreshing quiet times with God?

I sincerely hope each of you have some memory where you were certain God is watching out for you. I hope you glimpsed His unfailing love for you. I hope your troubled soul was strengthened with hope to take the next step forward.

My life continues to be a healing process. Sometimes just when I think I’m safe on the solid ground of Jesus, tumultuous waves from unhealed layers of deep pain knock me down. I have to constantly remind my heart of God’s Truth to refute the lies that blast their way in.

One night as I wrestled with an aching void in my heart, restlessness deep in my soul, and a confusing roadmap in my mind, I pleaded with God to speak to me. Lord, what is it You want me to do? If there is something I need to do, tell me. Please.

“Abide in Me.” What? “Abide in Me.”

So began my summer quest… What does that mean, Lord?

“Abide” means to remain, to continue, to stay. But it goes so much deeper than that when Jesus tells us to abide in Him, doesn’t it?

“Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself

unless it abides in the vine,
so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me and I in him,
he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:4-5 NASB

Without the life-giving nutrients from Jesus, the True Vine, our deep soul hunger will never be satisfied. Without a heart and soul connection to Him, we have nothing and can do nothing. Without His life-sustaining power, the smallest storm will rip us away.

We need to open our hearts wide to receive His Word. To devour, digest, and allow His truth to dominate our thoughts, words, and actions. To let it free-flow into the deepest parts of our souls to replenish, revive, and reform us each and every moment of day and night.

“If we would ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus –
in His presence – ripened by the sunshine of His smiles.
We must hold sweet communion with Him.
We must leave the distant view of His face and come near,
as John did, and pillow our head on His breast;
then shall we find ourselves advancing in holiness.”
Charles Spurgeon

When we choose to abide in our life-giving and life-sustaining Savior, it won’t be easy. No, it will be harder sometimes, because Satan tries his best to rip us from Him. But Satan’s best is never good enough. We are immovably secure, because our victorious Savior chose to die for us, chose to live for us, and chooses to abide with us and in us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can keep taking the next step.

That is why I can come back to blogging. It’s not about my bearing fruit to God. It’s about letting go of my own striving to do more or be better. It’s about remaining connected to Jesus and allowing His nutrients to flow through me to others.

This willful child will often forget and fall down. But I will get up again, and step by step, I will learn to abide in Him more freely and fully. To pillow my head on His chest and let Him wrap His arms around me in the warmth of His unfailing love. To believe His steadfast willingness and even His delight to calm my fears and insecurities, to refresh me with nutrients from His endless fountain of grace, and to give me words focused on Him and His love, not on myself.

I pray each word will be balm to your hurting heart and will point you to our only HOPE in Jesus!

I am looking forward to interacting with you again. It amazes me that though my heart’s longing is to encourage you, I often end up on the receiving end of encouragement. Thank you so much for blessing me. God is so good to me.

“Abide With Me”
by Matt Maher

“Abide with me, abide with me
Don’t let me fall, and don’t let go
Walk with me and never leave
Ever close, God abide with me