Tag Archives: child of God

How to Abide

Maybe this teaching of Jesus has frightened you:

6 If you do not remain [some translations read, abide] in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  (John 15:6)

Jesus told His followers to abide or remain in Him or else.  Yikes!  If that is the case, we had better understand how we can abide in Him.  What do we have to do?

Let me ask a question:  When you were growing up, what did you have to do to make sure you lived in your home?  Nothing?  What gave you the right to simply walk in without knocking, go up to your room and flop down on the bed?  That right came with the fact that you were in the family.  You lived in that home because, as a child of your parents, it was your home.  They gave you the right.  If you continually questioned whether you lived there they would have taken you for a professional check up.

Same thing with Jesus.  When we receive Him by faith, He gives us the right to be born into God’s family.  The Spirit of God is born into our souls and we become children of God.  As members of His family, we live, or abide, or remain in Him.  Forever.  In His teaching on this, Jesus said,

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  (John 15:1)

In his classic work, Abide in Christ,  Andrew Murray points out that it is up to the gardener to keep a grafted branch secure in the vine.  God is the One who draws us to Jesus and secures us in Him.

So why does Jesus tell us to abide in Him?  It’s a matter of recognizing and remembering where our home is as we go through life.  In a criminology class in college, I  once visited a maximum security prison.  It was a grim and sometimes frightening experience.  From time to time I deliberately reminded myself, “I don’t live here; I get to leave in a couple hours.”  In the same way, we who have come to abide in Christ, are taught we don’t live here.  We are strangers sent as ambassadors of Jesus.  Sojourners.  As we hang on to that reality, it transforms our attitudes and actions.

Slathered with Love

When I think about the word “lavish” the first thing that comes to

English: Cinnamon roll as produced by cinnabon

English: Cinnamon roll as produced by cinnabon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

mind is Cinnabon.    I know, I know, you’ve never actually eaten one of these – just looked at them as you went by…  Right.  But if you work for Cinnabon, you need to know how to lavish.  You need to lay on the cinnamon and butter and icing without any restraint!  That’s my point.

Think about what “lavish” means as you read this next line from 1 John:

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)

God lavished His love on us by bringing us into His family as His loved children.  Perhaps your experience with your dad was not ideal.  God’s version of fatherhood is perfect.  So much so, He encourages us to come to Him whenever we are in need, without formality or hesitancy (Hebrews 4:16).  He told us to call Him “Papa” (Abba, in Hebrew – Romans 8:15).  Most people, if they accept the idea of being a child of God at all, think of the relationship portrayed in the von Trapp family in the beginning of “Sound of Music,” with the kids all in uniform, standing at attention and responding to signals from a captain’s whistle.  God’s version is a lot more like the family interacts at the end of that musical.

John says “the world does not know us” and that is true.  Believers and followers of Jesus are commonly misunderstood and criticized.  They don’t get it because they are not (yet!) in the family. When the family gets together things go on that those in the world have never experienced.  I remember my childhood family, the kids lying around on the floor in front of a crackling fire, with my dad sitting in his favorite chair, reading a story.  Things happen in God’s family that are much, much better.

Such as Papa’s love, lavished on His children…