Nourishing Your Spirit During the Holidays: Part 3

We are created for connection with God. In fact, a meaningful relationship with Him is the only way to nourish the deepest parts of ourselves—our spirit. We recognize there’s a void within us—an empty hole that we can’t seem to fill with labor nor things nor distractions.

 

The God of the universe provided a way to solve this problem. We’re to abide, or remain, in Him. What does that mean? I’m so glad you asked!

 

In Part 1 of this blog series, we covered God dwelling among mankind through the Tabernacle in the wilderness. In Part 2, we examined the miracle of Christmas: God coming to earth as a man to walk among His children as Immanuel.

 

In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here and review Part 2 here.

 

Perhaps the most beautiful illustration of abiding involves a vineyard. Jesus invites us to abide in Him the way a branch abides in a vine. Consider segments of John 15 from the Amplified version, below:

 

Nourish Your Spirit by Connection to the Vine

Perhaps the most beautiful illustration of abiding involves a vineyard. Jesus invites us to abide in Him the way a branch abides in a vine. Consider segments of John 15 from the Amplified version, below:

  1. 1-2 I am the true Vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He repeatedly prunes, so that it will bear more fruit—even richer and finer fruit.

 

  1. 4-5 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith, unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for otherwise apart from Me (that is, cut off from vital union with Me), you can do nothing.

 

  1. 7-9 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you (that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart), ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My true disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in my love and do not doubt My love for you.

 

  1. 11 I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

 

 

It’s a lovely conceptual picture that translates into real life. Here’s an example that I hope will resonate:

 

Intentional Friendship

 

I have a dear friend that I rarely get to see. She lives in Alberta, Canada and I live in Colorado. She is a school teacher and when she comes for a visit she stays a long while. Sometimes 3 or 4 weeks. My family and I cherish every minute of it.

 

When she arrives, the house is neat and orderly. I’ve even moved the furniture to vacuum underneath. And when she leaves, we’re tripping over clutter and shoes and books and many of the things we’ve shared together and have not taken the time to put away. Because we’d rather enjoy each other’s company than tidy up.

 

This is abiding. It’s remaining.

 

It’s having my friend by my side for nearly everything. We do some sight-seeing, yes, but our favorite moments are sharing coffee or a meal. It’s the moments that we laugh and cry together and share our hearts and open every door of transparency to a trusted companion, even in the middle of the night. Those are the ones we cherish the most.

 

That’s what it means to abide in Christ. To be so connected that we carry Him with us everywhere.

 

But just like a relationship with a dear friend, abiding doesn’t happen by accident. It takes work. Intentionality. Investment.  I’ve known my friend since high school and she moved home to Calgary just after graduation. We stayed in touch through handwritten letters, pricey phone conversations and international travel. Later we connected by email and Facebook and text messages. We invested in our friendship and we made a determined effort to hold it close.

 

Nourishing Your Spirit Through Abiding

 

Abiding in Christ also requires devotion and consistency.

 

Abiding is NOT the practice of connecting with God for a time only to disconnect when stress and busyness invade my calendar. The Biblical picture of abiding portrays a branch that’s fused together with a vine. Its relationship is ongoing. Uninterrupted. Whole.

 

The sad truth is that my own habit of abiding can tend to waver. I’ve learned that when my routines are in place and I have a measure of control over my schedule, I am intentional about holding fast to Him. However, when my routine breaks for any reason, so, often, does my abiding connection with Christ.

 

I have to work hard to stay connected to Him, especially when life gets difficult.

 

We can’t abide in Jesus by accident. It’s like an uphill climb. We can’t coast. If we coast while going uphill, we begin to fall back.

 

I hope you’ll join me again for Part 4 of this blog series where we’ll discover some of the benefits to nourishing your spirit through abiding, and learn how, practically speaking, to abide in Christ.

 

Nourishing Your Spirit Part 3

 

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