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Abide isn't a word we hear everyday. And it's probably not a word we could easily define if we were put on the spot. But Jesus says "abide" all throughout the Gospels, so we should probably know what it means.
It’s not some mystic metaphor (or some catchphrase you say while bowling). It’s real… just as real as the roots in the ground or the leaves on a tree. A branch only bears fruit if it abides in its vine. And we can only bear fruit if we abide in Jesus.
“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."
— John 15:1-9
So... how do we do that? By trusting in all that God has for us!
But how do we grow our faith and trust in God?
Here are some ways to creatively abide in God’s word throughout the day. If these don’t work for you, adjust them or come up with your own creative solutions that fit your family’s situation. There is no wrong way to spend time with God—just do it!
Wake up 15 minutes early
I know it may seem drastic, but giving up even just a little bit of sleep can make a huge difference in your day. Reading the words of Jesus regularly is a bit part of abiding, and the energy and joy you will get from your quiet time with God are guaranteed to outweigh the benefits of an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Try it for a week and see how it goes. God loves to bless our sacrifices, no matter how small. (And make sure you've got a cup of coffee ready... waking up even just a few minutes early is tough!)
Keep a journal
If you're like me, it can be easy to forget... well... everything. And that includes the ways in which God is bearing fruit in your life! Jesus says the proof is in the pudding when it comes to abiding—by bearing fruit, you will prove to be His disciples. That's important! Keep a journal of all the ways in which God is changing your heart (big and small) and use part of your quiet time to celebrate how you're becoming more like Jesus.
Ask others for help
Abiding is hard work—it requires pruning and cutting and a lot of other steps that are hard if you're doing it alone. That's why Jesus talks about abiding in the context of community and telling this to all his disciples. Reach out to a friend, a pastor, or someone you trust and ask if they can help keep you accountable to letting God cut out the things you both know need to be cut out.
A branch can only bear fruit if it abides in its vine. We can only bear fruit if we abide in Jesus. And how do we do that? By faith that is rooted in trusting God. A branch stays attached to a vine so that it can live. That’s why we abide in Christ.