Throughout this series, we examined nourishing our spirit and discovered how we are designed to connect with God. Our connection is called “abiding” in the Bible and John 15 teaches that we are to abide in Christ as a branch abides in a vine. The connection should be seamless, uninterrupted, and whole. If you’d like to start at the beginning of the series and read Part 1, click here.
Benefits of Nourishing Your Spirit
The benefits of nourishing your spirit are countless. By abiding in Christ, we learn to receive the love that God so freely supplies. We receive confidence, knowing that we are His. Most notably, when our spirit is nourished we bear fruit—not from our own efforts, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit that flows through us. This fruit manifests itself in real life, even when life gets messy and difficult.
It’s true that life gets harder as we age. Our problems get bigger. The good news is, when we draw closer to God day by day, we lean increasingly on Him and His strength. I often wonder how people navigate life without His support.
In my personal life, I’ll share that my mom is very sick. Four weeks ago, the doctors said she had only weeks to live. She’s 85 with a bad heart, and she’s very weak. In-home hospice started so we receive frequent visits from nurses, social workers, and even a chaplain if we wish.
The burden of 24-hour care is carried by the family. I set up a video baby monitor and I receive notifications on my cell phone if she even moves her covers in the night. We have a lot of people in our house right now and I have more help than I could ever wish for. But it’s still hard. It’s so hard.
Mom and I have not always had a great relationship. I’m her only surviving child and she has lived with us since my dad passed away 18 years ago. Watching her decline so rapidly is heartbreaking. What slays me and keeps me up at night is that she doesn’t know Jesus. She wants no part of Him.
Abiding Through Difficulties
In this season of caring for her, in the midst of the demands of ordinary life, abiding looks different for me than it ever has. There’s not much uninterrupted time to sit and wait on Him. So I pray on the go. I keep my feet moving while I worship. And I read only a few sentences of the Bible at a time.
Mom is increasingly anxious when I’m not close by so leaving the house is tricky. I’m so thankful for technology and online sermons from our church that help keep me connected with the body of Christ.
I know that God is fully aware of my situation. From before the foundation of the world, He knew we’d face this and He walks with us. Somehow, I love her as He does. In a mysterious way, it brings joy to serve her and care for her. Somehow, I’m grateful for the opportunity to honor her.
The Fruit of Abiding
The other day, I stood at the coffee pot, just simply filling a cup and I was overwhelmed by His nearness. It brought such peace and assurance to my heart. I could feel His passion, His love, His affection.
This is the fruit of abiding. And it’s not just for me. It’s for all of God’s children who are willing to let the love of Christ fill all the empty places in our hearts.
The joy of Christmas is knowing that God came to be with us. We celebrate His birth and the anticipation of remaining in His unfailing love. Because we were created to connect with God. And when we do, we are never, ever alone.
When we abide in Christ, we connect with Him, which allows us to be radically loved by Him. We grow to be more like Him, to love others more fully, and to be full of delight about who God is for us. That is what makes Christmas merry.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you, my sweet friends.