Reduce “Christian Anxiety” Abide/Time I recently attended a fellowship group that prompted me to do a word study. Because the term “Abide in me” came up, that’s what I choose to dig into. The discussion had the consensus that what John 15:17 says is both meaningful and true. "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." (ESV) But I could tell there was a problem. While easy to give lip service to, this scripture is hard to completely believe. We have all had experiences that would seem to be contrary to it. We don’t get everything we ask for, do we? This won’t be a rant about mistaking God for a vending machine. The root of the problem is misunderstanding the term “Abide”. The way most of us think of it is causing much anxiety that isn’t necessary. So, I hope to provide some clarity of meaning. Abiding in Christ, the vine, is so often confused with the back and forth we experience between flesh and spirit. We are all too quick to say, “Well, I can’t walk in the light all the time, I have a body pulling at me.” Looking deeper into the meaning of the word “Abide” leads us out of that error in 2 ways. Our short-attention span, social media and fast food lives, trick us into thinking everything is either immediate, or it doesn’t exist. Abide is like “Abode” in that it is where you live. Abide carries a sense of time, over the long-haul. Abide in me refers to having your life in Christ, which all of the born again have a right to. My street address is where I live, because it is not temporary like when I’m on vacation. It is the persistence over time that takes the emphasis away from this moment versus that moment view of abiding in Him. Scriptures refer to your “coming in and going out” as normal daily activities. Missing the mark is a normal daily activity, but it doesn’t change your permanent address, does it? Anxiety What drove me to write this is the desire to lessen the anxiety and stress that this misunderstanding causes. It is like the cumulative effect of being insecure in your eternal salvation. You know, the “saved one minute, lost the next” fear many miss-taught Christians experience. How can you ever partake of the privilege of participating in His REST living like that? Your salvation is not hanging by the thin thread of whatever you did last. Neither is your right to abide in Jesus. Believability That leaves us with the problem of believability. Abiding in Him means we are more interested in His will than our own. So, it stands to reason that when you ask for what is in His will, it will be granted. I’m not minimizing the difficulty involved here. We might want to please our selfish desires with things like a private jet. I use an obvious example to say this… You don’t really think God is obligated to give you just anything you ask. You know His having your best interest at heart, and the foresight of how things are going to work out, would keep foolish requests from being in His will. Living it Out Knowledge like this changes nothing unless it evokes action on your part. So how to put this into to practice is the question. Consistency in awareness is the key. Maybe the “pray without ceasing” idea should be addressed in it’s own article. But here’s a start: Before you even get out of bed make it a habit to ask the Lord what He wants you to do today. Knowing my own distractibility, I also ask Him to remind me throughout the day. Try it for long enough for it to become a habit, then let me know the results you achieve. I’m pretty sure you’ll be using words like peace and rest. __________________________________________________
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