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  • Rochelle Walton

Abide: Remaining

Updated: May 23, 2021

Welcome back! Let’s pick up where we left off...

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭NLT

“...have MADE the LORD their hope and confidence.”

The term “made” shows that some type of effort is needed. Trust doesn’t just form naturally instantaneously. Hope in something isn’t automatic. Confidence in someone doesn’t just occur over night. There’s relationship, understanding, communication...intimacy.

“...roots that reach deep into the water.”

We said in Part 1 how Jesus is the Living Water. He is Who we grow our roots into to sustain our very being.

As we grow in communion and in our understanding of God, we grow in deeper intimacy with Him as well. We become further ROOTED in Him. Our hope and confidence become firm and immovable.

This takes time and intentionality. We must spend time with God. - Scratch that.

We must ABIDE in Him.

We are to remain in Christ. Dwell there. We don’t just do weekend visits (church on Sunday). We don’t do occasional one night stands (Bible study, Christmas service or Easter service). No. We live in Him day in and day out.

Christ promises, if we remain in Him, He will remain in us. (John 15:4)

When we remain in Christ, the Source, our Living Water, we aren’t bothered by the trials of life or the turmoil of the world.

Now let me be clear, being unbothered doesn’t mean be apathetic or unaware of what is going on. It means we don’t lose hope. We continue to survive but not only that, we continue to thrive!

Survive - continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.

Thrive - Prosper, flourish

Those who are rooted in Christ don’t merely survive, we thrive! We continue to grow healthy green leaves and produce fruit even in the drought.

That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit and the fruits of our labor/calling.

We don’t thirst for anything. (John 4:13-14)

We don’t lack anything (Psalm 34:10) for we are directly connected to The One Who supplies and sustains all things.

We survived much in 2020. Now we are going to thrive in 2021.

Many of us may have taken the perspective and position of someone in the world last year with all of the trauma and turmoil. Our roots may have lifted a little through the storms BUT it is not too late to strengthen your roots and grow them deeper into Christ and thrive!!

How do we grow our roots deeper in Christ?

We abide.

How do we abide?...

I’m glad you asked. I think we often make our relationship with Christ more difficult, challenging and taxing than He ever intended it to be. He literally made it so simply a child could do it.

So let me ask you something. How do you strengthen your relationship with friends, family and partners?

You communicate. You spend time. You’re consistent. Right?

Abiding in Christ is no different.

It’s as simple as saying “good morning” to Him. Starting your day with Him through prayer and/or reading His Word.

It’s talking with Him throughout the day. God is literally with us all day everyday. If a human being was next to us all day and we only spoke to them once in the morning and once at night, we’d think that was rude. We’d casually speak to them throughout the day out of awareness of their presence. We can do the same with God. Just talk to Him. Include Him in decision-making. Vent to Him. Cast your cares on Him. Ask Him questions. Randomly let Him know you love Him. Just talk to Him. His Presence is always around us, the question is whether or not we are acknowledging it and abiding/dwelling in it.

Don’t allow religious activities to distract you from abiding.

Sometimes traditionalism can become a trap.

“So you must remain in life-union with Me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to Mine.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Like in part one, let’s go ahead and get the definitions out of the way...

Union - the action or fact of joining or being joined

- a state of harmony or agreement.

- a marriage

Bear - produce; display

Fruitless - unable to produce; vain

Intimately - in a way that involves detailed knowledge.

- in a private and personal way.

Joined - connected; linked

Being in union with Christ is for Life.

It’s not a temporary connection or a seasonal connection. It’s not a one time link. It’s a life time relationship.

Christ remains in relationship with us, we must remain in relationship with Him.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Abide - live; dwell; persist

- to remain stable or fixed in a state

- to continue in a place

“Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

When a plant is disconnected from its source of life, it will appear to grow and thrive for a while, but as time passes, the illusion of life fades and it begins to wither. It dies. The whole time it was merely surviving on what nutrients it had left in its stalk but once that’s gone, it’s life is gone.

We may appear to be alive and doing well but time always tells. Time always reveals truth. The moment we are disconnected from the Vine, we are disconnected from He Who gives us life and we cease to grow. We are also unable to bear fruit. All we do is vain (fruitless).

We can’t produce the fruit of the Spirit apart from the Spirit.

Life without Christ is fruitless and literally “un-bearable” (unable to bear fruit). See what I did there? Lol

What fruits do we produce when connected to the Vine?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

What are the works of our flesh when we are disconnected from the Vine?

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:19-21‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“So you must remain in life-union with Me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to Mine.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Ever notice how when you fall off a bit studying the Word, don’t pray as much, don’t fellowship with other believers you start to fall back into old habits, behaviors and attitudes? You’re easily irritated and frustrated. Gossip is enticing. You become a little spiteful. Old temptations start tempting you again. Hmmm any of these things sound familiar...🤔They remind me of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).🥴🤒

When we aren’t spending time with Christ, it’s harder to be patient, we aren’t as quick to show love, it feels like a strain to practice any self-control, temptations just seem to have a hold on us. We struggle to find peace and be peaceful towards others.

It’s crazy how when we neglect intimacy with Christ, our flesh quickly begins to rise up in us. KB once said, “my idols are mimicking Jesus. I bury my sins and in 3 days they’re back up again.”

We have to daily choose to not only die to self (crucify our flesh) but also abide in the Vine. It’s a two part thing. Apart from Christ(the Vine) it is impossible to refrain from the works of the flesh and impossible to produce the fruit of the Spirit. We must remain connected to He Who gives life in order to experience an abundant fruitful life. We can’t produce the fruit of the Spirit apart from the Spirit.

You don’t have to toil and strain to bear the fruit of the Spirit, just abide in Him. It’s not our works or our human efforts that cause us to bear good fruit anyway. The Word tells us that it is God working within us causing us to desire and do what pleases Him (Phil. 2:13). It’s not us on our own. By being connected to Christ, we adopt His character, His perspective, His heart. Just as being around a friend on a regular basis causes us to talk and act like them, being in God’s Presence changes us too. Remain in Him and He will remain in you, causing you to bear His fruit.

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