If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:7-11
My consecutive streak is still intact. It happened again today when I braved the crowds and went Christmas shopping at Target. I'm undefeated when it comes to picking the shortest, yet somehow longest, line in the store. No matter which line I stand in an issue always arises. A return. A price check. Someone who doesn't understand how to swipe their card. A person paying in change. The last individual in all of Wilmington who still writes checks (they exist). And if that doesn't fail, the register will inevitably glitch.
As I attempt to display some level of patience by standing my ground for a hot second, people in other lines zoom in and out. Eventually, I give it up, and switch to another checkout and (you guessed it) instantly my former line begins to flow effortlessly while my new route screeches to a halt.
Remaining put and seeing a shopping trip through doesn't come easily to me. Neither does abiding in Christ. Not only do I like to be in and out of a store in no time flat; I want my growth and transformation to take place instantly. I want my problems solved with a snap of a finger. I yearn for the quick fix. Prayers should be answered in a timely manner.
If Christ can't get on my schedule, I instinctively stop abiding in Him so I can take matters into my own hands. I work harder at solving my problems and getting my life back on track. I rely on my strength and wisdom. I push my agenda and try to force my hand. I put the world on my shoulders.
And, what do I get out of all of it? It leaves me exhausted, worn-out, cynical, frustrated and tired. Contentment and peace are in short supply. Running ragged fueled by my ability gets me nowhere fast. I'm learning that it's only when I come to the end of myself that God can begin to do the much-needed work inside my heart.
Scripture says that the joy I (as well as you) crave resides in only one place - abiding in Christ. My antsy heart hoped that wasn't the answer because doing so requires patience, trust, and faith. The time it takes to abide in Him speaks to not only the quantity of the investment but the quality as well.
Abiding involves staying put when our circumstances don't change. Abiding entails slowing down, praying and paying attention. Abiding provides the security needed to open up every part of our heart to Him. Abiding takes place when we're willing to let God's Word speak into those places and transform our character. Abiding in Christ occurs day by day and goes on as long as there is air in our lungs. Rather than check out, God is asking us to engage.
Where are you reluctant to abide in Christ? What causes you to be antsy and resist being still?
Why does Christ need to speak into this area of your heart?
God, apart from You I can do nothing. I will remember this truth as I go about my day today. Regardless of the demands placed on me and what is going on around me, I will take time to be still and abide in You. Speak to the areas of my heart that remain off-limits so I can bring them to You fully confident You will transform them. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.