The meaning of Jesusanalogy of the vine and the branches is unmistakable.Our spiritual vitality will always depend upon maintaining a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It is never enough to simply believe the right things and then continue on in independent self-oriented lives. We need to constantly be energized by spending time with Him. On our own we dry up and die.
Todays lesson is the second on the command of Christ entitled, Abide in Me. Last time we discovered the meaning of the word abide and then distinguished true abiding from programmed forms of prayer and Bible study. These have a place in a believers life, but by themselves dont bring the depth of personal relationship we need. Each of us must find a way to warm our hearts in Gods presence and most importantly to hear Him say, You are My beloved. This awareness that we are deeply loved is the primary foundation of our spiritual life. When that assurance burns inside us we can boldly face the storms of life. It makes us confident that He wants to bless us. The trials of life constantly erode that confidence so we need to hear His quiet inner voice again and again and again.
Today as we look again at these verses in Johns gospel well discover more precious gifts God wants to give us when we abide.
What are the two foundation stones of abiding? (v 7)
1) Relationship with Jesus
2) Obedience to His guidance
What blessings does He promise if we abide?
1) Answered prayer (vs 7, 8, 16)
2) Continual awareness of His love (v 10)
3) His joy overflowing (v 11)
What is His joy?
1) Definition of joy
- (Dictionary): the emotion excited by the acquisition of something good.
-¢ (me): The relief felt when a danger is avoided
- The thankfulness felt when something good is acquired
- The inner peace felt when one is loved and honored
- The deep fulfillment of knowing our life has purpose (Mt 25:21)
Jesus tells us we will not simply receive joy by abiding, but we will receive His joy. Worldly joy is dependent upon circumstances turning out as we had hoped, but His joy comes from a higher source. He found joy in experiencing Gods adoring love (Jn 17:26); in remembering His eternal destiny (Jn 17:24); and in knowing He had brought glory to God by accomplishing the work He had been given to do (Jn 17:4).
He wants us to find joy in these same three ways:
1) Gods adoring love
2) Remembering our eternal destiny
3) Satisfaction that we have fulfilled Gods will for our lives.
Is it possible for us, to say with Jesus I have glorified you on earth having accomplished the work which you have given Me to do (Jn 17:4).
1) Jesus let God lead in everything He said and did.
- His words: Jn 8:26; 12:49, 50; 14:10
- His actions: Jn 5:30; 14:10
2) We can live the same way. Relationship always includes conversation and when we abide we learn to hear His voice. During quiet times and during the flow of the day we'll hear or sense Him directing us to specific steps of obedience.
How to let Him lead our day
1) Live one day at a time (Mt 6:34)
2) Put our worries in His hands (Php 4:6)
3) Ask for His leadership of this day
4) Relax, dont push through the day or run afraid from event to event.
5) Allow Him to order your day and accept each event by faith.
6) At the end of the day dont evaluate your performance but thank Him that you have accomplished what He planned for you.
7) Let go of long term goals (striving) with the assurance that God has long term goals and is faithfully guiding you toward these
8) Remember God evaluates results far differently than we do. We usually look at numbers and statistics or we reflect on our emotional feelings afterwards. He sees the eternal effect of your life on the people He brings to you.
1. Name an event in your life that brought you joy.
2. Describe how you know God is guiding your life.
3. What fear arises at the thought of living a day at a time rather than pursuing steps toward a goal.
4. Describe a moment when you knew you had done what God wanted you to do.