4.24.2012

... And My Words Abide in You


Andrew Murray once said, "There are some Christians who try not to be disobedient, who come to their Sunday and week-day duties most faithfully, and pray for grace and a blessing, and they complain of so little blessing and power, so little power! And why? Because there is not enough of the living Jesus in their hearts."

I believe that we cannot experience this power because we desperately need a deeper knowledge of God.  Not head knowledge, but knowledge that leads to intimacy.  Like the intimate knowledge a husband has of his wife after years of marriage.  We need to know God!


That knowledge comes from abiding in Christ and allowing His words to abide in us! Let’s look deeper at John 15.

“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." -- John 15:4


Abide means to remain or dwell.  This gives us the picture of slowing down, not getting ahead of God, to remain humble and dwell in His presence. As we live out verse 4, we are rewarded with a fruitful life, a fruitful life that come from God alone.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” -- John 15:7


If verse 4 is all about seeking His presence, then verse 7 is all about seeking His word.  We do not receive because we do not ask… properly! If we live out v.7, we are rewarded with an answered prayer life!

God is not a vending machine!  We cannot simply push a couple of buttons and really expect results.  If we do not truly abide in Him and allow His words to abide in us, our desires remain selfish and there is no fruit.

God wants to give us our hearts desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

God will not give you the desires of your heart if He isn’t your heart’s primary obsession.  It's pretty straightforward.

So, how do we get there? What does abiding in Christ and allowing His words to abide in us look like?

Without making it rocket science, it's simply spending quality and quiet time alone with the LORD, taking time each day to seek His presence through prayer and scripture.  Half of our communities' Gospel-Intentional Rhythms make this up… we are a people who Pray and Learn!

We must meditate and pray over His words. We must allow, give permission for His words to abide in us… for His words to remain in us… for His words to dwell in us!

Eight Practical Habits for Allowing Christ’s Word to Abide 

 

  • Understand Satan is telling you that “Abiding in Christ” isn’t worth it!
Know that spending this time alone with God is completely worth it.

  • Plan a place and a time to “Abide.”
We don’t read and pray because we don’t plan it! We are naturally drifters; we naturally lose focus.  We don’t have to plan to drift; we just do.  You will never accidentally spend time reading and praying.

Also, protect that time! Make it an appointment and don’t break it.  Satan will use good people to hi-jack what God wants to do in your life.

  • Have a plan for reading the Bible.
Strategies work!  Make one.  Figure out how you will go about your reading of scripture. Whatever you do, don’t just flip around, verse to verse.  Many people quit reading because they often don’t know what to read next.  There are a ton of Bible reading plans… weekly, monthly, 40 days… even a year.

Maybe you read through a book at a time, reading 3 NT and then 1 OT. (Matthew, Romans, James, Isaiah).

A Proverb a day, alongside reading through a book… so many options! Choose one!

  • Memorize key and life verses.
Hide the word in your heart!  Bible memorization leads to life transformation.  It helps to comfort us, to help us resist temptation, to keep us focused on the Spirit rather than the flesh.

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." -- Psalms 119:11


  • Every now and then, overdose on prayer and scripture!
From time to time, you need to overdose on reading the word and spending time in His presence.  You need to create for yourself a small retreat and spend hours reading and praying.

Plan on spending at least an hour to 3 hours at a time.  If you daily spend about 15 minutes, then OD at for an hour.  If you are at 30 minutes at a time, then shoot for 2 hours or so.  You get the idea, just get after it!

  • Keep a journal, slow down!
John Piper often says, “Writing is a way of seeing!”

The best thing about writing out scripture is it simply slows you down.  Haste and inattention are our biggest obstacles, so writing out scripture and prayers slow us down.

You don’t have to do it every day, but practice it every now and then.  If you don’t know what to write, that’s OK, because there is no right way to do it.  To get started, write out a verse that speaks to you, then as you pray over it, ask God to reveal Himself in it.  Then write out what you think about.  You do that a couple of times, then you will become a journaler… you may even become a blogger!

  • Read other Christian writers who saturate their work with scripture.
People don’t read enough!  Readers are learners and learners are leaders… and disciples are leaders!

You must read!  The slowest of readers (about 200 words a minute) could plow through 12-13 books a year, if they would simply read for 15 minutes a day.

  • Keep the person of Jesus in front of you.
Don’t get too academic in this… with every page you read, with every prayer you offer up, with every second you sit in silence… see and seek the face of our LORD.

Which of these habits do you currently practice, which ones would benefit your time with our Father?  Leave a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts.

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