June 13, 2018

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you desire and it will be done for you.”  John 15:7

I’ve been sitting here thinking about this verse for while.  It’s one of those tricky verses that people like to use out of context.  “Ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.”

I used to grab hold of that last part of verse 7 and pray for all sorts of things.  Selfish things.  Crazy things.  All-about-me things.

I never bothered to read the first part of the verse or even the surrounding verses in the chapter to see how it related.  See what I mean?  Out of context.

Jesus was talking to His disciples about abiding in Him.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  If the branches aren’t connected to the vine, they wither and die.  Never producing leaves or fruit.

When I think of abiding, I’m reminded of when I was a little girl with my grandma.  My mother died when I was a baby and my dad and I lived with my grandparents.  My grandma was my mother as far as I was concerned.  She fills all of my earliest memories.

I remember snuggling in her lap with my head pressed against her chest.  I could hear every breath she made and her voice was amplified with my ear smashed up against her body.  I was so close to her, I even knew when it was lunch time because I could hear her stomach rumble.  I was abiding with her.  I wanted to stay in her lap forever.

Through the years, I’ve learned to abide with my Heavenly Father.  I’ve slowly learned to be spiritually pressed up against Him so tightly that I can hear His every breath and word.  When I am in tune with Him, I pray in tune with His heart.  I want what He wants.  When I’m abiding in Him, I am praying for what He desires for me.

Lord, you are a loving Heavenly Father who sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17).  You allow me to have an abiding relationship with you and you give me your words to comfort me.  I want to be so close to you, Lord, that when you speak I hear you loud and clear.  I don’t want to miss a word you have for me.  I want to ask you for the desires of my heart and know that I first got those desires from you.

 

June 14, 2018

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Galatians 5:22-23

I can’t get the thought of “abiding” off of my mind.  As a little branch growing from a strong, sturdy vine I should be producing some nice green leaves and some healthy fruit.

I remember teaching my preschool class about the Fruit of the Spirit.  We would sing a cute little song about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control while doing some crazy hand motions to reinforce the message.  The song made it easy to memorize the words, but didn’t help at all when it came time to put the words into action into my life.

In my mind, all of the  Fruit of the Spirit was pretty nice sounding except patience and self-control.  Love, joy, peace?  Sure!  Kindness, goodness, faithfulness?  Great!  Gentleness?  Bring it on!

But patience?  Also known as looooong-suffering?  Nooooo!  Self-control?   Ugh.  Sounds like hard work to me!

But last night, as I was thinking and praying about this, I realized that it is work – but not for me.  It is God working in me and through me.  My part is to abide.  When I abide, His patience is able to flow through me when I really want to speed things up.  When I abide, His spirit gives me self-control because He has something better for me than what my human nature wants to do.

Lord, thank you for constantly teaching me and growing me.  Thank you for pruning me and training me to produce good fruit.  Help me not resist the work you are doing in my life to produce patience and self-control.  Those weak areas in my life need some work.  Forgive me when I try to fix them myself.  Help me to abide with you so that you can do the hard work yourself.

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