John 15:4-5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
”Dear Christian, in affliction abide in Christ. When you see it coming, meet it in Christ; when it is come, feel that you are more in Christ than in it, for He is nearer you than affliction ever can be; when it is passing, still abide in Him.” Andrew Murray - Abide in Christ
As I read the above quote by Andrew Murray it struck me… was I abiding in Christ, or was I abiding in my trial? If we abide in Christ, as the branches abide in the vine, that is where we are feeding ourselves, finding our strength, our support, our nourishment. But it is easy, as hardship strikes, or stress, or trouble of any kind, to focus on our trial, rather than on Christ and instead “feed” ourselves with despair, depression, fear, anxiety, etc. What will the outcome be? If we continually abide in Christ, nourishing ourselves and strengthening ourselves in His Word, and in prayer, we are strengthened to walk through the trial in our lives or to deal with the stress and be lifted up, strengthened and comforted by Him through it. If we feed on our emotions of fear, depression, anxiety, etc. that is what grows in our soul and rules us, and soon we have no control over it.
Yet, when those emotions are there overwhelming us we find that is the hardest time of all to abide in Him. We feel we have a right to feel as we do, and we hold on to it and soon are unable to let go of it. Now they are holding on to us.
“Abide in Christ! This is indeed the Father’s object in sending the trial. In the storm the tree strikes deeper roots in the soil; in the hurricane the inhabitants of the house abide within, and rejoice in its shelter. So by suffering the Father would lead us to enter more deeply into the love of Christ…
“A believer may pass through much affliction, and yet secure but little blessing from it all. Abiding in Christ is the secret of securing all that the Father meant the chastisement to bring us.” - Andrew Murray – Abide in Christ
I had to step back and ask myself, “What is the stronger force in me right now… the hardship or Jesus? What has more control over me right now?” I know that I want Jesus to be the one in control of my life, my heart, and my emotions. As I drew closer to Him, I could better see the problems in perspective and find the inner strength to take the steps to do what I needed to do, and leave the care of the outcome of it in His hands. It is a hard thing to give up your life in the care of another, trusting that one will do the best thing for you. This is what we are called to do in Jesus – give up the care of our life into His hands – and trust Him with the outcome. As we abide in Him we are able to do that. If we are not then we’ll tend to hold onto it ourselves and try to work it out without that peace that passes all understanding in our hearts. Nothing we have in this life is guaranteed. As I have been reading through Joshua, I came to this verse: Josh. 21:45 “There failed not aught of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel; all came to pass.”
We have that assurance in our life as well. Take your Bible and make a list of “all good things which the Lord hath spoken” to His children in the New Testament. I asked the Lord, “just what have You promised me in this – I know that not one good thing which You have spoken for Your children will fail, and not one good thing You have, even before the foundation of the world, planned for me, will fail, Lord.”
For starts – abide in this promise - Eph 1:2-3 “Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us withall spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”
You have, in Christ, what you need to get through this time of testing, the trying of your faith.
There are many more. Open Your Bible, and go after them like a hidden treasure. Find out where You stand in Him, put on your armor, and abide there. They will not automatically happen for you. You must appropriate them by faith, believing in Him, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. You must walk in them, by faith. You must “present yourself” unto the Lord in faith that all He provided for You is true and none of it will fail. Walking in the obedience of faith enables us to realize our hope, and experience His grace that is sufficient in all our weakness. In nothing will He fail us or forsake us.
If you find yourself focusing on your fear – turn your focus onto His promise and meditate on that. If you find yourself focusing on the problem, turn it into a prayer with praise and thanksgiving that God will take it. If you need wisdom, ask!
Jam 1:2-5 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given to him.”
It is natural to abide in the problems. It is supernatural to abide in Jesus and overcome the world. Let us take hold of all God has provided for us and in us to do so. As we do so, fruit will grow in our lives! Fruit that will also nourish others in their trials and hardships. He promises us – if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. Let us always remember – we are more in Jesus, than we are in the affliction.
Heb 10:23 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised"
Heb 10:38 "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man shall draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Heb 3:18-19 "And to whom did he swear that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."
God’s covenant with us is all about faith. Everything we have and everything we do is about faith, not works. If we are not walking by faith, we are not honoring God no matter how good our works are. There is no other way to please God than by coming to Him in complete weakness and realizing our complete insufficiency to ever please Him in our flesh, by keeping a written code, and to accept by faith all He has made provision for in us, as we put our faith in Him alone to be our Savior to the uttermost.
Notice again Heb. 10:23 – “Hold fast” the profession of our faith. We are to hold it fast, as the most precious thing we have, not taking it lightly. If we are told to hold it fast, then it is something we are able to hold fast. It is a choice. It is not a feeling that comes and goes. Even in times when we feel our faith is wavering, in fact, in times we feel we have none left – it is in just those times especially that we are to hold it fast. We do so by choosing to cling to Jesus, all He is, and all He says, and all He has done for us, even when it feels like He is far away. In times when the enemy taunts us, condemns us, and causes us to question everything, we hold fast our faith! By this, we honor God even in our weakest and most vulnerable moments.
In times of failure, we are to hold fast our faith. Yes – especially in those times when we see our flesh for what it is. The realization of just how horrible a thing our flesh is, and that it is capable of such grotesque sin or evil thoughts, is a shocking and shaking experience for us. It causes us to doubt that we are indeed in Christ. How could we be?? How could such evil dwell in the same body with pure righteousness? But it does, (Rom. 7), until that day of our final redemption. As we walk in faith, however, sin has no dominion over us. It has lost it’s power over us and we have been made alive unto God. This is where we stand in faith. This we cling to in those times when we see the worst of our flesh and Jesus allows it to be exposed for what it is in us. When we are humbled and brought to the end of ourselves, and finally despair over this monster, and cry out for deliverance, this is the time, especially, to stand in faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ alone and in nothing else. We find no help in ourselves or in someone else for deliverance. We see our failure so clearly. As we see this, we submit ourselves, in agreement with God, that this sin that dwells in us is evil - 1Jo 1:8-9 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We cling to His deliverance.
Confession is to agree with God. By agreeing with Him, we are taking His side against our flesh. By faith, also, we need to confess that we are helpless to ever change our flesh, but that the finished work of Jesus is enough to cleanse us from it and fulfill His righteousness in us by the power of His Spirit… the same power that rose Christ from the dead, living within us. By faith we trust in that new nature that He has given us, and that we are alive unto Him in our Spirit.
By faith we don’t look back, but just as Paul - Phi 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
By faith we press on. We press on in the realization of weakness, of helplessness, of failure, of lack of emotion, and when all seems hopeless. And when it feels like we have no faith at all left, we commit ourselves into the hands of the faithful one Who will never fail us or forsake us – the one Who died for us, and loves us more than we love ourselves. Your soul is precious in His sight. When everything around us seems to be falling apart, and the security rug is pulled out from under our feet, we press on towards the mark, in faith that He is there, He will support us, and no matter what we go through in this walk of life, all that matters is whether or not we walked through it in faith.
Heb 10:35-37 “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that is coming will come, and will not tarry.”
Honor God by holding His Word as a sure thing, no matter whether all the world, our heart, or our circumstances tells us different. All those who trust in Him will not be disappointed.
Col 1:16-18 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
God’s glory demands to be seen just because He is what He is. He is meant to be preeminent or supreme in all the earth and in each of His children, in every part of their life. Human nature would make man supreme in all of his own decisions, and in every part of his life, and over his world. Oh, it can be convenient to have a God there to help him through the rough stages and make his way a little smoother, so he thinks; but he fails to understand that God is supreme, not only in the entire universe, and in His own mind, but must be made supreme in every believer’s heart and mind.
Because He is exactly Who He says He is and His glory is real and so beyond our imagination that we cannot fathom it. Every time we hold God supreme in our thoughts, and we worship Him and give Him glory, we partake of that awesome glory and it becomes our life. Nothing survives without Him! There is only true joy in living the Christian life if it is lived unto the glory of God. But many fail to learn that secret. His glory is our glory – and our life.
As long as we live for our pleasure, our good on this earth, seeking our own happiness, we miss the glory of God. The only way to partake of that glory is through the cross of Jesus Christ. The only way we partake is to give ourselves to His cross, let it become ours, and make Him supreme in every part of our life. Giving up our life for the sake of His glory – there is no higher calling. There is no greater privilege. There is no greater fulfillment in life, and no greater purpose. This is what we are called to. This is our great privilege – showing His supremacy throughout our world wherever we are, and whatever life has brought us to.
Through every circumstance that we go through in this walk on earth, we have the opportunity to hold God supreme in our heart and mind and bring that supremacy and glory to the hearts and minds of others around us. That trial you walk through is not just for your sake, although God uses it in your life to conform you to the image of His Son, but it is for God’s glory – to show that He is supreme in all things. You have the opportunity now to hold Him supreme or not – and thus to see and share in His glory or not. Neither is that blessing and prosperity God brings in your life for you, but it is all for His glory and to show His supremacy in all things.
When we trust God through every part of life we walk through, through every trial, and every hardship, knowing and resting that He is in charge of and control of every part of our life as His children, trusting that not one thing that happens to us has happened without first going through His mind and heart for us and His purpose in our life, and all can bring glory to Him, then we are holding God supreme in our heart.
When we cave in for unbelief, we fail to do that and we strive to make our own way through, holding our own thoughts, desires, and plans as supreme before God. God cannot be glorified in that. Neither will we partake of His glory and neither will His glory be shared with others around us.
Faith is what holds God supreme in your heart. Unbelief is what puts man as number one in his own mind and heart.
Look at the entire world around you and see how all the sorrows, suffering and wars are because man has failed to hold God supreme, but instead has lifted himself up as supreme. Shouldn’t we as His own dear beloved children at least make God supreme in all our lives?
We have this promise from His Word: Rom 8:17-18 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
And - 1Jo 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
If we hold God supreme in our hearts and minds, we can be sure that every single thing that happens to us in this life will lead us to that glory.
Rom 8:28-31 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” Phil. 2:17-18
Study notes from Nelson Study Bible: “A drink offering was a cup of wine poured out to accompany some OT animal sacrifices (See Num. 15:1-10) Paul likens the faith of the drink offering poured out to complete it. He gave himself that their faith might be strong. Both their faith and his self-giving were causes for gladness. Let all those who preach the gospel and all who believe their word rejoice.”
We see this in Jesus - His blood poured out like wine - His life given up for love - His body broken like bread to feed the hungry.
Joh 6:51-57 “I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he shall live forever. And truly the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Then the Jews argued with one another, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus says to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Whoever partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he who partakes of Me, even he shall live by Me.”
Will you be poured out like wine
Upon the altar for me
Will you be broken like bread
To feed the hungry
Will you be so one in me
That I can do just as I will
Will you be light, and life, and love
My Word fulfill?
Love pours itself out for others suffering whatever it must for that other’s sake. Jesus love, which suffered all reigned at last – and it continues to reign in us and through us as we yield to this love and all it calls us to do to love others. This love, if yielded to, and lived out, conquers fear, conquers death, conquers sin, and all evil. It is the greatest power on earth, yet is willing to demonstrate itself in utter humility, and weakness. It is willing to suffer wrong for the sake of another. (Please take the time here to read 1 Corinthians 13)
It bears all things, endures what it must, and suffers long, patiently with those who despise it. In doing so it finally reigns and is never defeated. Love never fails! Our love fails over and over, and is defeated, but His love for us and in us never will! It is unfailing!
Many times we think to win those God brings to our path of life by strong argument, by force, by some persuasion on our part, but there is none greater than humility of love that suffers long. A person can argue but they cannot escape the effect genuine love with humility that gives itself up, will have on their heart. They’ll either violently reject and despise it, or they will be conquered by it at last.
As a young Christian I was ready to surrender myself as a missionary – go wherever God would send me, and pictured a glamorous ministry for myself someday serving the Lord, winning many souls to Christ. But God called me to the most humbling ministry of all – to be a mother and a wife – and also truly the noblest. But I didn’t see this ministry for what it was at the time and overlooked its importance, always looking beyond to the future when “someday” God would have a ministry for me. I didn’t see the menial tasks I had set before me as a ministry at all, but something to trudge through.
Wherever we are placed in life, whatever our circumstances, whoever the people – God has called us to give ourselves over to His love which called us to these circumstances, places, and people to mold us, and for us to mold for His glory – that His love will reign in and around us for others to see and partake of. Whatever giving up of self that calls us to is God’s will being formed in us. There is no greater joy than when we finally are able to entirely and willingly surrender to that love and will that we may partake more fully of that great fellowship with our Savior in His love and all it cost Him.
Phil 3:7-11 “But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.”
Every small seemingly worthless task you are to do every day has purpose and is to be “done unto Christ.” In this you find a joy and new energy for everything you do. You are free! Only let love – that love that has suffered so long with you in this road to godliness – reign at last, setting you free of selfish ambition and conceit. As it reigns in you, you also will be filled with its power to suffer long with others and reign in their loves.
Phi 2:3-9 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others. For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name”
The only way to experience and apprehend that power of His resurrection Paul talked about is to give ourselves willingly, from the heart to that fellowship of His sufferings, in faith, whether they be big or small – they require us to lay self aside, take up our cross, and follow Him. What joy we would find in everything that comes our way, if we could see the opportunity for this in it, and if we could see the providence of God in it!
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