Keeping To: Abiding in the Lord

I have recently returned from an adventure or two or three. May and June have been full of such adventures, yet this most recent adventure has reveiled itself to have a lingering impact on me. Everyday contains a multitude of teachable moments, in which we (I) must willing to be taught. Among these teachable moments exists moments that call us into humility. To be humbled. The last two weeks have been a testament to that. In fact, the last three nights have been particularly noteworthy.

 

Thursday night, after our college Bible study, a group of us went out to a local coffee shop to fellowship with one another. What we did not prepare for, which arose spontaneously, was the singing and worshipping of the Lord on the patio of this coffee shop, surrounded by strangers, some of whom joined in with us in singing and others who were exposed to a display of faith. I cannot properly convey the sheer amount of love and affection that I have for my fellow students, not am I capable of conveying the immense amount of love that God has poured out for us.

 

Friday night, one of our youth students held her first concert. A night of worship, if you will. To see the next generation stepping up to lead and follow the calling God’s placed on their lives brings my heart great joy. In addition to that, to see the next generation showing up to support thier own only increased that joy. Change is moving throughout the church, especially in the next generations. Watching our youth students singing, dancing, and worshipping together has been one radical change from the last few months. And as change occurs, the focus has shifted to discipleship. To have my generation pouring into theirs, theirs pouring out into the next, and the next into the next, and so forth. Generations of generations of disciples going forth to make more.

 

Last night, we college students gathered once again to fellowship together. A spontaneous gathering on a Saturday night proved to be a moment of worship, fellowship, and study. We gathered in the upper room of one of our friend’s home to singing songs to the Lord. Then, at the request of someone, we looked at John 15 where Jesus describes himself as ‘The True Vine.’ You may read the passage below:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

-John 15:1-17 ESV

Throughout this passage, I have taken note of a few things. Firstly, the actions throughout. God is the vinedresser, who is actively working on the vine so that it will remain healthy. There is an investment being taken by God. To begin, He is giving his time to moniter the vine. Secondly, He is removing what is not growing. Thirdly, He is pruning what is living and is healthy and is bearing fruit.

Secondly, throughout this passage, is a choice upon ourselves. We can choose to be a part of the vine, willing to be pruned. Or we choose to have ourselves separated from it. Either way, we are active in our decision to be in or out of the will of God. We have to choose whether we want to bear fruit or not. Yet the only was we can bear fruit is by abiding in the Lord. Allowing Him to work on, in, and through us in order for Him to bring us closer to His heart.

And so this leads up to this morning. I have recently returned from a trip overseas, and had a dream about my team randomly and quickly deciding to go back. In this dream I was not packed or ready to go (while in reality I would jump on an opportunity like this in a heartbeat), which caused a great deal of chaos. And so, I asked someone in our group when our flight was leaving, hoping that I could return home to pack and return to leave with my group. This, ulitmately, would have proven to be a futile effort on my part. However, in this dream, I realized something important. I must abide in the Lord. In placing my faith and trust into the Lord, I have no cause for concern, no need to be afraid, no need to feel any stress. Trusting the Lord to provide, both material and spiritual, in any and every need. The way to achieve this is by abiding in God. Being apart of the vine. Willing to be pruned. So who needs to pack their luggage? When the Lord says ‘go,’ go!

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