Day 27: Abide

Paper Tigers & Impressing God

A Write 31 Days Series

I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
— John 15:1-4 The Message

Abiding in Him.  It is the key to everything we have been talking about.

If we live our live making our home snuggled down into Christ as our identity, as the Holy Spirit dwells inside us, just like the Holy Spirit dwelled inside that ark, inside the Holy of Holies, inside the tabernacle, then we will naturally avoid these paper tiger pitfalls we've been discussing.

It sounds impossible, but our goal is to live a life where you really can't tell where you end and Christ begins.  We live as heirs to the great inheritance.  We live as sons and daughters adopted into His family.  We live as servants, laying down our life for His will.  We gain life as we respect and submit to His will, following His example of servanthood.

Abiding in Him makes good works possible, and when we realize that we can do nothing on our own, we know our works can never impress God.  The work was always His.

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
— John 15:5-8 The Message

Abiding in Him is how we bear fruit.  We don't just behave ourselves, we actually have unnatural, unconditional love for our fellow humans.  We have joy on our worst days.  We have peace when the world is spinning out of control.  We have patience when we cannot muster it on our own.  We are outlandishly kind when the flesh wants to lash out.  Goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness become how we relate to our fellow Believers and the world.  We have self-control when our flesh is weak.

I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
— John 15:9-10 The Message

We are not on our own trying to avoid the fear of failing others and trying to avoid people-pleasing.  When we remember love is the goal, we know we should treat others with grace and truth, just as Jesus came and lived His life.  Grace and truth are only possible through abiding in Him.

We are not on our own hoping that our good works, our service in His Kingdom, will succeed and please God.  If we join in His work, as a friend and co-worker, we don't have to worry about pleasing Him.  He is pleased with His work.  His work succeeds, maybe not by worldly standards, but by Heavenly standards.

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
— John 15:11-15 The Message



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