Tag Archives: abiding in Christ

Results and Relationship: It’s Time to Abide

Recently I have embarked on another level of spiritual growth on the issue of being versus doing. God has shown me how often I was grading my relationship with Him based on how I feel or what I accomplish. Likewise, I have realized the Body of Christ as a whole tends to struggle with this issue.

As Christians we often declare that life with God is about relationship not religion. But we have often replaced relationship with another form of activity, one of seeking for results. Religion’s traditions, rituals and rules have been replaced with a striving to produce and see results.

In our quiet times with God, we often grade ourselves. Did we feel His presence tangibly, did we accomplish a lot in prayer or studying the Word? Often we do not even recognize we are viewing our time based on what we feel or accomplish ourselves.

We may even try Christian self-help strategies hoping for more answers to prayer. Yet life with God is primarily about friendship with Him, not getting our prayers answered. Prayers come as the fruit of that loving relationship.

In our congregations, we tend to base a successful outreach on how many people were saved or healed. Sometimes we even go after marketing strategies in attempts to get more results. But human methods will eventually fade.

At times we even view small churches as less than, or having something wrong. Nonetheless,  numbers and results we see are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or lack thereof.

God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance. Before Jesus had done any ministry, the Father’s declaration over Him was that He was well-pleased (Mark 1:11).

Numbers and results are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or the lack thereof. God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance.

It’s time for a 180. In John 15, Jesus said we would bear fruit (results) if we abide in Him (relationship). Only if we abide.

The Lord wants good fruit in our lives, but it cannot come unless we cultivate an ever deepening companionship with Him. And the fruit that comes through this friendship will alone be lasting.

This is the relationship Jesus opened up to us through His sacrifice on the Cross. This is the relationship we want others to enter into through our outreach. How can we tell them of their own need for relationship with the Creator if we ourselves are not truly pursuing it?

Abide in Christ, then fruit will come. Without abiding in Christ, we cannot truly know the heart of the King whose Kingdom we represent. Without abiding, we cannot rightly display the great love which He has for others.

May we set our hearts on knowing Jesus. We do not want to be hindered by our desire for results or to prove we are doing enough. May it be that we come to the place of knowing we are loved by God and rest in this truth.

As we love and obey the Father’s leadership, we can trust Him with the results. Let us choose to take Jesus at His Word, which He still proclaims to us today:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 (NKJV)

People of Intimacy with Christ

You and I are called to be people of intimacy. We were made for a close relationship with God. Though distractions abound, we are not alone: God’s Spirit is our Help.

The Lord is our first love and He loves us extravagantly. Despite life’s challenges, our pursuit is this: be rooted in relationship with Jesus.

John 15:5 says that without Jesus, we can do nothing.  Outside of relationship with God, you and I do nothing of true significance:

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

Fruit trees exist to bring forth a harvest of delicious fruit. But this can only come with the right location, water, and nutrients.

What ingredients are needed for our intimate relationship with God?

  1. Friendship with Jesus (the right location)
  2. God’s Holy Spirit (the water)
  3. God’s Word (the nutrients)

Continue reading

Experiencing God’s Presence: Four Keys

Whether you are in a season of the fireworks of God’s love or a time when you seem unable to feel His presence, here are some keys to experiencing His presence both tangibly and supernaturally!

Key #1: Heart Posture

Our ability to engage with God in relationship is most influenced by the posture of our hearts before Him. Are we willing to set aside time to tend the garden of our life with God?

Often we are preoccupied with action and progress as we gauge our growth with God, but this is not the most important. The inner life hidden behind our faces—our hearts, minds, and wills—is where God desires we first pursue Him and is the source of every word we speak and every action we take. Continue reading

Union of Hearts

“Someone once asked, ‘Do you know God?’ But there’s a question that is far more important: Does Good know you? The issue on the great day of judgment will not be whether you know God but whether God knows you.”
– Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place

In that day, many will say they know God, saying, “We did so much in Your name!” Despite their exclamations, they did not have a genuine, intimate relationship with Jesus. They did not talk and walk with Him, the Person, though they knew about Him and did things for Him outwardly. Inwardly their hearts were far from Him, like the religious folk of Jesus’ day (see Matthew 7:21-23).

LoveQuote

Love God, and love others; in doing so, also love yourself as God loves you. Of all things, love is of the most importance, and if our actions do not stem from the roots of love, they profit nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3; 13).

Jesus tells us, “Abide in Me…” He spoke not only of abiding in His Word, but in Him and in His love (John 15). Abide, have your dwelling in Him, friendship. Intimate relationship where you disclose all of you, your thoughts, your feelings, your sins and faults, your victories and hurts.

True communion is more than reading about God and His Word or talking to Him, but the union of our hearts to God’s, where we allow Him to speak and respond to us, letting Him move upon our hearts with His love, light and truth.

May we pursue the most important ambition in all of life, the very purpose for which we were made: Relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Spirit of God living in us. For this reason we live and breathe, to be loved and to love, growing in intimacy day by day.

 

Prayer Is Conversation: Growing in Intimacy with God

Prayer is a simple concept, but we tend toward making it complicated when we walk it out. We may even wonder if we are doing it right! In this post, I want to bring us back to the simplicity of prayer, and introduce prayer as a primary way to grow in intimacy with God.

Prayer, simply put, is communion with God. Prayer is often expressed as having conversation with Jesus and loving on Him. It is a time of focused attention on Him, talking to Him and pausing to listen as He speaks to us.

It is most beneficial to set aside daily appointments of uninterrupted time with God to grow in intimacy with Him. This forms a foundation for connecting with God throughout our day and in all we do. As we introduce conversation with God into our devotional time with Him, we will more easily begin to talk with Him throughout our day as well.

The practical ideas below can be used to grow your prayer life during both daily appointments with God and by talking with Him throughout your day.

Short, Simple Phrases

Just saying “I love You” to the Lord is a valid form of prayer. Spending a few seconds several times a day, we can connect with God more simply by telling Him how we feel about Him.

I recommend this: Whether in your quiet time, during a worship service, or even throughout your daily activities, pause to speak to God in short phrases of 5-10 second prayers; then pause to allow Him to respond back to you. You want a two-way conversation, not a speech from you to Jesus.

Conversation with God builds our connection with Him, helping us learn to connect with Him no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Example: As you spend alone time with Jesus, tell Him, “I love You, Lord. Thank You for Your love for me. I am so grateful for You in giving Your life for me.” Pause for a moment. Then go deeper, asking Him to show you His love even more, allowing You to feel what He feels or to know His thoughts toward you. Again leave room for Him to respond to you. Ask His Spirit to show you how He loves you.

Some simple phrases you could also start with:

“Show me how You feel about me/a friend/this situation”
“Give me Your eyes to see”
“Make me more aware of Your presence”
“I choose to trust You”
“You are beautiful”
“Teach me Your ways”
“Remove all that hinders me from knowing Your love and showing it to others”

T.R.U.S.T.

A great acronym that’s easy to memorize and use is T-R-U-S-T: Thank You, Release revelation, Use me, Strengthen me, Teach me. You can find this acronym and more here: Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man by Mike Bickle (free PDF download).

Devotional prayer is one way we abide in Christ (see John 15). You can also read or hear more about this in the teaching series Growing in Prayer by Mike Bickle.

I pray this instruction helps you grow even closer in your relationship with God. Feel free to share comments or ask questions.