"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." -John 15:5
This past week, the Lord placed a passage of scripture on my heart that has been formative for me over the years. John 15 talks about our need to abide in Jesus, while allowing Him to abide in us. But I have found this to be an easy "Christianse" term I use without really knowing what it means. So, what does it look like to truly abide?
To abide in God means to pray (v. 5), it means to obey His commands (v. 10). Much easier said than done, abiding also means loving others as He loved us (v. 12), andallowing God to prune and cleanse us (v. 2). To put it simply, abiding means actively depending on Jesus, rather than our own strength.
And when we choose to abide, the Father rewards us. He promises answers to prayers. He promises we will experience His love. He promises that our joy will be made complete. We can do NOTHING apart from Him, and He is offering His strength, so why do we try to do it on our own?
John Piper so wisely said, "Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that he will provide the help we need." But why is it then, that any time I have a big decision to make I start to rely on Carryl? I put energy into my own striving rather than simply abiding. I know there is a big change on the horizon, so I turn inward and start making decisions based solely on what I want. That just simply does not make sense when I know in my head that I can do nothing apart from Christ.
I spent this past week learning about myself in a way I never had before. As I learned about the unique gifts the Lord gave me and how those can be used for His Kingdom work alongside my weaknesses, the word worthy kept coming back to me. I think sometimes I get so narrowly focused on how sinful and broken I am, I forget the (very important) part about redemption in Christ's sacrifice.
When someone gives me a report filled with strengths the Lord have given me and places that leave room for improvement, I skip over the strengths and head straight for the ways I'm not good enough. I beat myself up and drown in comparison. I labor on, striving to find a way to cover my own weaknesses. I lose myself in questions. I try to fix it all on my own.
So, in 2017, I will choose to remember that my worth comes not in ANYTHING that I can do for myself. I will stop striving and start abiding. I will return and rest. And I will not forget that my worth comes solely in understanding that I am a daughter of the King, who loved me enough to give everything he had for me on the cross to cover all of my brokenness.