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Abide.

Do you ever pray things such as this?:

“Lord, show me how to be a better wife.”

“Lord, show me how to be a better mom.”

“Lord, show me how to be a better ________.”  (You get it… you feel in the blank with wherever you are in life.)

I have prayed a prayer like this more times than I can count.  This prayer has been one that I’ve prayed especially as our family has transitioned from a family of 3 to a family of 4.  Lately, every time I pray this prayer, it’s as if I hear the Lord whisper back to me, “Abide in Me.”

As I heard the Lord whisper these 3 words, something just started to click.  The desire of my heart has always been for Jesus to make me more like Him and for Him to mold me into the woman that He desires for me to be.  I’ve always thought that I would “arrive” at this point one day, but now I’m learning that as Christians, we will never “arrive” until the day that Jesus returns.  We should always be being sanctified and changing for the glory of God.  And to do this, to be sanctified, to be the person that He wants us to be, there is no magic formula.  It’s all about abiding in Him and following His command in John 15:1-11.

“Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  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 15:4-5 (ESV)

One thing that the Lord is helping me realize is that abiding is a 24/7 thing, and to me, that is absolutely humbling.  The God that created the universe, who is the King of kings, and who reigns over everything WANTS us to abide in Him!  He wants to be a part of every moment of our days.  He cares about the details of our lives.  (In light of that, here’s a practical application for abiding in Jesus.  Stop what you’re doing right now, pause, and just praise Jesus for the fact that He cares for us and wants a relationship with us!)

I am a firm believer that it’s important that we have a quiet time in God’s Word daily (even though I struggle with this and fail many days); however, our quiet time is not the only time that we should be talking with the Lord.  I was so guilty of this the past few months!  The Lord convicted me about that recently as I drank my morning coffee (you can read more about that here- Jesus- A Morning Essential).  If we are going to truly abide in Jesus, which is the only way that we can bear fruit and become who He wants us to be, then Jesus must be a 24/7 part of our day.

Friends, here’s some practical ways that we can abide in Jesus each day (I would love to hear how you do this in your life!):

  • Start your morning with a simple prayer asking for the Lord’s strength and that He would guide your day.
  • “Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV).  When I was little, this verse made zero sense to me.  I would think, “How in the world am I supposed to do this?  I can’t walk around with my eyes  closed all the time!”  But now I’m realizing that this is more about keeping in communication with God, just like how I keep in communication with my husband throughout the day via text.  So, are your kids going crazy?  Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength.  Do you have a test coming up?  Ask the Lord to help you recall what you’ve learned.  Are you going into the grocery store?  Ask the Lord for boldness to witness to the cashier.  You get the idea!
  • Look at creation.  As your driving or looking out your window, just pause and take in all that our wonderful Creator has created.  Praise Him for the beauty of His work!
  • Praise/thank Jesus when something awesome happens!  Did you receive a good grade on a test?  Did you see the Lord answer a prayer or provide?  Did your kids nap really well?  Praise Him!
  • Listen to worship music as you clean, study, drive, etc.
  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:16 (ESV).  Basically, get God’s Word in you as much as you possibly can!  Read Scripture daily.  Attend a church where the pastor preaches God’s Word.  Memorize Scripture (something I could definitely be better at!).  If you have a long commute, listen to sermons or an audio version of the Bible… etc.!
  • Fellowship with other believers.  Being plugged in and serving in a local church is  HUGE part of helping us abide in Jesus and making us into who He wants us to be.

I feel like there’s so many other ways that we could abide in Jesus, and someone who is “ahead” of me in life could probably give more tips, wisdom, and insight on this (if that’s you, please share!), and how we abide in Jesus might change from one day to the next or one season to the next.  But I think it all comes down this- Have Jesus be a part of the details of your days.

So, friends, there’s no “arrival” date for those of us who are Christians.  There is no magic equation to make us into the person the Lord wants us to be.  The Lord is and always will be working on us (Thank Jesus!  Because I know I need some work!).  We must just daily walk with Him and obey what He has for us in each moment.  We must simply abide.

DSC01844
We are beach/lake people, and it’s a place that I love to abide by praising the Lord for His awesome creation!  In this picture, we had just finished dinner and happened to get to see some dolphins swimming up close.  Mom LOVED dolphins.  She thought they were beautiful.  She would sit on the beach for hours hoping to see one.  I think this was another way that Mom abided in Jesus- she would praise Him for this beautiful creation!

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