What Does It Mean to Abide In The Vine? Part One -The Wrong Way!

Do you abide in the Vine? How? When? Why? Where?

Shoot, all I knew was, I sure didn’t want to be one of those branches that gets cut off and thrown into the fire! That thought alone is enough to make me want to abide or at least die trying to!

Come on now. Is that what Jesus was trying to get across in His message about the Vine and the branches? You had better abide, or else.

Have you ever noticed how we Christians are notorious for wanting a step by step plan to:

  • Do it right
  • Be right
  • Please God
  • Impress God/others
  • Mature in things of God
  • Advance the kingdom
  • Do our duty
  • Show how thankful we are for His ultimate sacrifice by doing and obeying

Hey, maybe just give me 3 points, and I will do it. How about a list, then I can check it off. I know, let’s make a chart and the visual impact will be a big motivator!How NOT To Abide

Sound familiar?

Truly I did not understand Paul’s words – “…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:2-4)

Confession time – I was one zealous believer back in the day. I had no clue of “knowledge”, even though I thought I did! Hey, I even remember using that phrase, “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”, as a way to judge others! Sick, huh?

Paul nailed it with this wonderful description of those of us who, in misguided sincerity, are trying so hard. Our fervor and zeal only wear us out, they don’t do a lick to develop any righteousness or please God, let alone abide. But we can’t see that, because we busy doing the stuff, or feeling guilty for not doing the stuff.

By the way, do you see how our “step by step” formulaic mindset is another way of establishing our own righteousness?

Geesh, I’m so thankful in my ‘old’ age He finally broke through all the religious mindsets to show me what He really wants. Has to do with fullness and freedom!

Okay, back to the Abiding topic.

Traditional Christian responses on how to abide:

  • “Quiet time” is necessary – BE STILL, focus on Him, renounce any wandering thoughts, write down wandering thoughts so they stop wandering.
  • Make sure you sincerely worship God, which best happens with worshipful music. In fact, some believe you can only truly worship with music.
  • “Carpet time” might help. (For those who aren’t familiar with that phrase, this means laying prostrate on the ground as you worship Him or are ‘still’. Not to say this is a bad thing to do, but it gets twisted as a work, a should, a must, a need to – particularly to show Him you are humbling yourself.
  • Read the Bible and meditate on scripture. Even memorizing scripture will show Him you really want to abide.
  • Pray in tongues, but do it quietly for true abiding. 🙂

Is that what God had in mind when Jesus said “Abide in Me, and I in you.”? (Jn 15:4)

Dig In

  • Are you good at abiding by doing stuff? Have you been caught in the religious works traps of abiding? Please realize you don’t have to stay trapped.
  • Do you like three step formulas, check lists, charts? Have you ever tracked your abiding success rate from these things? Having done the stuff do you feel restful, full, and certain?
  • What kind of fruit do you bear with the traditional Christian ways of abiding? What kind of fruit do you think God is looking for when we truly abide?

Next post we will find out what God had in mind about abiding! You just might be surprised!

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