How Do We Abide with Christ?
- Do you have the desire to grow in your Christian faith?
- Want to practice living obediently to Christ?
- Have you ever wanted to walk alongside someone, helping them in ways that you wish you had been helped?
Within those questions, the answer “yes” indicates the desire to have a life fully given over to Christ. This is a life you can have every day when you choose to be a disciple who loves the Lord with all your heart. When we love Him with all our heart, our day is spent abiding or being with Christ.
Sounds easy, right? It isn’t for me. The contrast between what I want to do and what I actually do can be quite distinct. (And isn’t that why I am so dependent on the huge gift of grace?) I want to walk with Christ, to abide with Him throughout my day. Yet I find that I often race through my day and find myself suddenly stopped in my tracks with feelings of discontent or apathy. We both know why that is. I have taken my focus off Christ and abiding with Him.
That moment of realization is most telling. What do I do next? Do I reengage with Christ, setting my eyes on His grace, mercy, wisdom and provisions? Or, do I continue on chasing distractions?
For many years, I thought the best next step was to focus on my disobedience and will myself to do better. Let’s be honest, focusing on me is still a distraction. God has a much better way for me to respond.
When I truly return my gaze to fix on Him, He reminds me that there is no condemnation in Christ - that gives me peace. He tells me that He has come to set me free – that moves me forward with hope. He points to His words that I am to go and make followers of Christ – that gives me purpose. He is training me through continual practice of returning my mind and my heart to Him. And through this practice, He strengthens the faith He is growing within me.
Yet faith development is not a solo experience. God places others around us to strengthen our faith. God brings believers together in different types of communities to refine each other. Larger gatherings provide the opportunity for us to hear from Christ and to submit to the interest of others around us. Smaller gatherings allow us to share our Christian walk, being accountable to others for steps of faith. Renewal gatherings (formal and informal) create the environment of safe listening, deep grief and profound joy to be shared.
Continually learning to walk in Christ throughout our day cannot be done through a program, a ministry, a book or a sermon. It takes practice. It takes community. It takes time. Most importantly, a life abiding in Christ is a gift He gives to all believers. - Caroline Poe, Minister of Discipleship & Pastoral Care
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5