“I was talking with one of my neighbors the other day,” Stan commented one morning, “and he was able to affirm for me something about my faith walk I tend to forget from time to time.”
“Good to have neighbors who can do that,” I replied. “What’d your neighbor have to say?”
“He told me that he had grown up in a non-Christian home and that his parents had built in him a strong work ethic that involved little idleness.”
“Nothing wrong with a strong work ethic, is there?” I asked.
“Not at all,” Stan replied. “But my neighbor told me about how, once he came to faith, he saw that something his mom had said to him often was the exact opposite of what he needed to live the Christian life.”
“What was that exact opposite all about?” I asked.
“My neighbor said that one of his mom’s favorite expressions was, ‘Don’t just stand there, do something,’ and he said that one day while reading John’s gospel it struck him that Jesus was recorded as saying something kind of the opposite of what his mom had always said.”
“Kind of the opposite? In what way?”
“Rather than saying, ‘Don’t just stand there, do something,’ Jesus, in essence, said, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there’.”
Stand there doing nothing, rather than going and doing something?” I asked.
“Not quite,” Stan replied. “Rather than running off to do ‘something’ that may or may not be in God’s will, we are to stand there, doing the one and only thing that will assure that everything else falls into place.”
“Which is what?”
“Abide in Him.”
“Oh,” I replied, “I kind of remember that. Isn’t that where Jesus said something about that apart from Him we can do nothing?”
“That’s it!” Stan replied. “If we are doing something — or anything — apart from abiding in Him, it’s a nothing.”
Continuing, he added, “It may sound like there’s a big choice, choosing between something and nothing, but actually I don’t think that’s the case.”
“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that if I’m going to be a disciple, that has to begin with abiding in Jesus so I’m not going off on my own doing what I want to do apart from Him, but am taking up what He has for me to take up, and then following Him.”
“So,” I replied, “would it be fair to say that there’s a close connection between abiding and discipleship?”
“Very close connection,” Stan said. “Maybe even an inseparable connection!”
Bible verses to consider:
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. John 15:16.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the finished work of the cross when my time here is completed, as well as the provision of a new life of abiding in Jesus for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I choose not to abide in Jesus because I choose to abide in something or someone else, including me. Please forgive the foolishness of seeking to live the life you have given me without abiding as you intend. As well, please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, choose to abide in Jesus in all you have for me to be and to do. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of Jesus’ finished work on the cross so you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What is standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with abiding in Jesus on this side of eternity? Do you believe what He said, that apart from Him you can do nothing? Why or why not? If you sense the need for change in how you abide in Jesus, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?