I was listening to Joyce Meyer last week. They broadcast snippets of her teaching on Thursday evening as I am driving to my girls group. I love listening to her, she has such a no nonsense way of dissecting things and whittling it down to the bare bones of scriptural truth.
Her message from last Thursday (click here if you want to download a pod cast of the broadcast, look for the link for the broadcast on 5/30) was about abiding in God’s word. She commented about how so many people think they have to have some kind of plan when they approach God’s word, however she also commented that when she spends time with her best friend she rarely has a plan. She allows the time spent with her best friend to flow freely and let’s thing unfurl. There is no plan. It is just time spent with her best friend.
I began to think about the concept of abiding. What does it mean. In my NIV translation the word abide is translated into remain. To stay in the same place, to wait, to be still, to linger in the word.
John 15:5 ~ If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
For me it just doesn't get any simpler than that. I need simple right now. It seems that the world is so very difficult and complicated at times. Maintaining a strong foothold in the word really does require a commitment to abide with God in His word on a daily basis. The benefits of consistent abiding are to numerous to count but scriptures puts it very simply, “apart from me you can no nothing.” If I want to bear much fruit then that requires a commitment to abide in the word!
Remaining in one place and soaking up all it has to offer.
Now that my formal bible study is over and summer is upon me I find that my free time is just that. Free, in a perfect world I would devote large chunks of my morning to prayer and study, but like most, if I am honest, it is always a struggle between wanting to do what I know I should do or just being lazy and doing nothing while I drink my coffee and watch the morning news.
But something Joyce said really struck a cord in me. Just hanging out in the word!
I want to remain in the word. I want it to fill up my thoughts and permeate every part of me. I don’t need a detailed plan, I don't need a study guide, I don’t need a plan at all. I just need my bible and a willingness to remain in His word.
To begin with I started with the obvious. I opened my bible to John 15 and went straight to the vine.
I don’t have a plan beyond committing to reading this passage daily until I have gleaned everything God has for me there.
Some mornings I just let the passages flow and other days I am drawn into a singular word and then let that word connect me to related passages.
Just abiding, remaining in God’s word has been, and always is a good place to be.
What popped out at me the other day were these five simple words from verse 9,
“Now remain in my love.”
God’s love never moves, it is always me that steps out of line or fails to abide in that perfect place of peace!
Let the summer of abiding begin….
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.