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Sinking Deeply in the Lord

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What do you think of when you hear the word Abide? My mind goes to the 1800’s and covered wagons in a prairie. I imagine a time when life wasn’t as messy as it is today, and things weren’t so complicated…when it wasn’t uncool to have strong values and a belief system that is founded on Biblical principles.

It makes me think of calico and ma and pa. Maybe during that time it was much easier to “abide.”

The word “abide” means “to stand fast, to remain, to tolerate, to wait patiently for, to submit to.” Another definition states, “to dwell or reside in.” That makes me think of “abode.”

Christ is our dwelling place.

John 15 is a beautiful picture of abiding in Christ, a timeless expectation for all Believers to find our life in the only true source of power and peace.

The picture is that of a vine (Christ) and a vinedresser (God) and the needy branches (Christians) and their fruit (good works). He says TRUE vine in verse 1. I think that this has everything to do with our tendency to run to all sorts of things outside of the garden to give us life and purpose.

Verse 2 comes all too quickly. This is the verse about pruning – no one’s favorite hobby.

Christ is our dwelling place.

My husband and I recently took up gardening. We have planted 17 fruit trees, 13 grape vines and several raised beds. The anticipation is invigorating. The process of clearing the land through sweat and hard work only fed that excitement as we anxiously awaited our first bounty. It takes several years for baby trees to produce fruit, so we quickly realized that this project was not for short-term gratification, but required considerable commitment. We also quickly realized that there is an entire army of miniature creatures waiting to devour all of

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our hard work and financial sacrifice…and then you realize that the birds are waiting to get the fruit that the bugs left behind. Fruit is a precious commodity and the demand is higher than the supply!

We also quickly learned that many little deaths must occur in order for things to even have enough room to produce. We have cut off more sickly branches and crowded plants than I could have even anticipated! Yet it leads to life.

To abide, to “sink deeply” into His presence and peace is a welcome, timeless command that leads to life.

The other idea that abiding alludes to is REST. There are seasons of rest for these plants. There are entire seasons where nothing is visible above ground. However, below the surface, thousands of processes are taking place…preparations for growth and fruitfulness.

I love how this section ends in v. 8 “this is to my Father’s glory.” Anything we do in humility for God’s glory will remain. To abide, to “sink deeply” into His presence and peace is a welcome, timeless command that leads to life.

  • What is your personal experience with abiding in Christ?
  • Where do you sense you are currently being pruned?
  • Do you allow yourself times of Sabbath rest, knowing that it is often in the quiet spaces that we grow most?

John 15
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

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Jen Bell

About

Jen Bell is a southern girl at heart, having spent her childhood in a quiet town in Oklahoma where all that matters is the Friday night lights. She is married to Brad Bell who pastors at the Well Community Church. They have two daughters who could be called “Night” and “Day” (in no particular order) and bring them great joy even though one is on the brink of the teenage years. She has a passion for discipleship and going back to the “ancient paths” and hopes to be a woman who speaks the truth in love for the glory of God. She and her husband converted their suburban backyard into a mini farm complete with grapevines and chickens, therefore much of their free time is spent tending and cultivating the growing things.


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